Ute Kanngiesser Geäder (2015, earshots)
Boldly speaking, musical performance reaches its apex when an artist is both able to demonstrate precision and mastery, and more fascinatingly, possess an evident ability to manipulate their instrument in such a way that negates its original functions, thus expanding its sonic capabilities well beyond those initially conceived. On her 2015 debut, Geäder, German cellist Ute Kanngiesser, brilliantly achieves both feats without breaking a sweat. Tracked at two separate locations in London, both tracks show the cellist in top form. “Project Space” demonstrates Kanngiesser’s ability to tease flute-like swirls and harmonic drones from her cello. The final three minutes of the piece feature plucked notes, the tensile strings resist Kanngiesser’s nimble fingers, making for an unnerving but engrossing performance which abruptly ends, presumably when the artist runs out of tape. “Clock Tower” initially saunters out of the speakers, recalling the works of Kiwis A Handful of Dust. Far from derivative, Kanngiesser’s approach to the strings vary wildly from those of Alstair Galbraith and ultimately demonstrate greater range, restraint, and virtuosity. At times “Clock Tower” resembles some lost form of string-based kosmische / psychedelia (far more interesting than John Cale and the Velvets, however). One notable trademark of the second piece is the soft, yet near constant tapping throughout the piece, which provides a loose sense of continuity that wonderfully compliments Kanngiesser’s open and interpretive playing. The second track also ends rather abruptly, which results in both tracks feel a bit unresolved (perhaps the desired effect). Regardless, Geäder remains a great release and would likely appeal to a wide swathe of improvised music fans from drone-heads, antipode-enthusiasts, and string-bowers, to those whose ears, as a rule, generally perk up for marginal sounds.