Jonas Braasch
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Global Reflections (2006) , 6/10

Jonas Braasch (Germany, 1971), who studied both Physics and Musicology, is a saxophonist who plays music that straddles the border between jazz improvisation, minimalism, and field recording.

Global Reflections (Deep Listening, 2006) contain three kinds of pieces: solo saxophone improvisations, chamber music for saxophone and other instruments, and field recordings. The odd-numbered tracks are all collages of field recordings. The even-numbered tracks are original compositions/improvisations that are supposed to be influenced by those "soundscapes".
The four solo improvisations display Braasch's extended technique (notably long, circular phrases) and the assimilation of elements borrowed from non-Western musical traditions. There is minimalist repetition, but also self-echoes and spiraling patterns, in Room For Room, a daring piece that is basically a series of nested variations on a melodic theme. Another romantic fragment opens and closes Lost Precision, while in the mid section the saxophone dives into an acrobatic tour of consonant and dissonant patterns. The elegant and almost neo-classical Nachklang Im Theater and the brief but "purer" Circular Pulsation complete the panorama.
The three group pieces are more of the same, and the additional instruments are not always beneficial> A Night in Battambang (1995), with bass and drums, intones a swirling Indian melody that is continuously spun to different orbits while the drumming evokes industrial landscapes. Time to Move On, based on a 9/8 tempo, is de facto a duet with frantic percussion. The most "traditional" of these pieces, Blues Me, is a nocturnal ballad with background noise, with the noise slowly moving to centerstage and truly dueting with the saxophone as the melody decomposes over eleven turbulent minutes.
The most impressive aspect of Braasch's music is not so much the mental "interaction" with the "soundscapes" but the way he balances melody and abstract structure.

The DVD Sonic Territories (2012) gathers twelve works for twelve different acoustic spaces.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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