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Primordial Soup by Carl Ludwig Hübsch

Even if Primordial Soup doesn’t fit easily into the jazz genre, it certainly takes you on a ride through extreme improvisational forms. Carl Ludwig Hübsch and his colleagues play their instruments and play with their instruments to produce a stunning array of sounds, both melodic and a-melodic, rhythmic and arrhythmic. The effect is sometimes contemplative, sometimes spatial, and sometimes, to use Hübsch’s own term, just "joyful noise."

All of the compositions are Hübsch originals. They do not follow any recognizable forms, yet each piece is a distinct whole. Hübsch doesn’t so much write music as he writes musical maps that include "improvisational stipulations," allowing each piece to emerge in ways totally unique to the individual and collective sensibilities of the moment. There are occasional glimpses of conventional writing where Hübsch has clearly annotated the parts completely, but they ebb and flow with the open improvisation and the edges are not distinct.

Highlights include "Pressio #1," which offers a magical mixture of percussive sounds and air columns moving through the wind instruments. It sometimes sounds almost as if you are listening to a Fantasia-like improvisational symphony of steam-powered machines come-to-life. "Harpa Gratkowskea," a twist on reed player Frank Gratkowski’s name, is a short, pensive piece featuring a lot of note-bending on the wind instruments. It manages to convey a sort of sad happiness, like a frown painted on the face of a clown.

Primordial Soup is music not so much to be listened to as to be thought about. Imaginative and challenging, it accurately evokes the themes of strangeness and beauty that commingle in the distant structures and spaces of our universe as Hübsch’s inspiration for this work.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Carl Ludwig Hübsch
  • CD Title: Primordial Soup
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Red Toucan
  • Tracks: NGC 2271 Hades B, NGC 2274 Melos, Pressio #1, NGC 2273 Vier/Four, Flexus, Pressio #2, NGC 2270 Terrier, NGC 2276 Inspektion, Harpa Gratkowskae
  • Musicians: Carl Ludwig Hübsch (tuba), Axel Dörner (trumpet), Frank Gratkowski (reeds), Michael Griener (drums, percussion)
  • Rating: Two Stars
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