Trio Vopá: Fauxpas

Recorded over two days at the Sternberg Studios in Karlsruhe, Germany, Fauxpas is the debut outing from improvising outfit Trio Vopá. Bassist Axel Haller, trumpeter Roland Spieth, and guitarist Cornelius Veit are fearless experimentalists, sometimes playing their instruments traditionally but more often radically—using postcards and brushes to play their instruments, for example. With its crying wah-wah and high-wire electronic noises, “Humer” could pass for a funeral service on Mars. It's an unusual collection on even temporal grounds, with ten pieces compressed into two-minute vignettes—some little more than fragments—and the closer nineteen minutes. All three ‘solo' throughout Fauxpas while collectively generating mobile micro-masses of alien sounds.

The iconoclastic spirit of Lester Bowie lives on in Spieth's playing, with the late Art Ensemble of Chicago great channeled for the pinched smooch of “Suc” and muted splatter of “Tromperie,” Spieth spewing notes like Jackson Pollock throwing paint. Spieth does a guttural bull-horn imitation on “Badischer Marsch,” brays like a prehistoric lizard on “Rspah,” and squeals and skitters on “Cor.” His partners have spotlights too, with Haller's scrape and groan prominent on “Malaise” and Veit's spindly crab-walk and barbed-wire chatter dominating “Ruade” and “Electrified Guitar” respectively. The long, drone-like setting “Dans” offers the musicians ample chance to stretch out, with Spieth devising an extended muted exploration over a rumbling, industrial base. Needless to say, anyone seeking classic jazz should look elsewhere, as the trio hunts experimental game exclusively.

November 2006