May 2000

Hat Art Records

On its second superb album, Polwechsel continue to transplant the extended technique of free improvisation into a framework of minimalist composition, creating strangely compelling works of delicate texture and interplay. Together Austrians Burkhard Stangl (guitar), Michael Moser (cello and guitar), Werner Dafeldecker (bass, guitar, electronics), and England's John Butcher (saxophones)-who replaces trombonist Radu Malfatti in the group-manipulate their instruments to generate an often unidentifiable array of sounds, from the sibilant hisses of Butcher's sax to the soft industrial scrapes of Moser's cello. Superficially, not much occurs during the album's four slowly-developing pieces, but if you're interested in detail, Polwechsel's acute ability to layer its disparate sounds in ever-changing combinations, experiment with density and make its music seem downright tactile will give you plenty to think about.

Originally published in May 2000
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