Aug 7 2014
Sitting on the cusp of jazz and indie-pop, , by violinist Tobias Preisig‘s Drifting is filled with passages of melodic beauty and dramatic builds of intensity. The core of most songs lies at the foot of violin, with drums, bass, and piano jumping off from that point, often into moments of startling beauty.
The album title doesn’t appear to be coincidental. Preisig leads right out with “Free Falling,” a tune that trades in form for atmospherics, and where percussion percolates below the surface while violin hovers just above it. The song neither begins nor ends, just simply materializes before fading from existence.
Other tracks don’t go quite to that extreme. For instance, the title-track is the prime example of the quartet’s winning formula. A focused, driving force, it charges straight ahead with intermittent melodic glides that linger sweetly. “Splendid” charts a similar course, but slows things down a bit, providing the melody a little extra room to breathe until the dramatic conclusion.
It’s tracks like those, where the quartet aims for some structure, that illustrate what the quartet is capable of now. However, it’s the formless tunes, those that drift atmospherically, show the seeds of where this group can go next. “Walking Twilight” and “Floating Causes” both insinuate form where none exists, which provides the musicians all kinds of space to expand on ideas, and yet still offers up a sense of cohesion. It’s that cohesion that makes all the difference between creative pursuits and instrumental noodling, and the more that Preisig is able to manipulate that sense of cohesion, the stronger his music will resonate.
Typically, those tracks that attempt to attain a definitive shape are keyed in on what piano is doing, and those tracks that eschew structure for abstract expressionism, they are led there by violin. In both instances, though, the results are quite beautiful and often riveting.
Your album personnel: Tobias Preisig (violin), Stefan Aeby (piano, rhodes), André Pousaz (bass), and Michi Stulz (drums).
Released on Traumton Records.
Jazz from the Zurich, Switzerland scene.