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Recorded live at 'Music Unlimited' Festival in Wels (Austria) November 1996. Contains an additional movie about the orchestra directed by Peter Hormanseder (1998) on extra DVD. Plus previously unreleased bonustracks recorded 1998 (Graz) & 2001 (Vienna). Packaged in special bound old recordsleeves, with silver-grey screen prints on front and backside.
The legendary Austrian ensemble lead by Christof Kurzmann and Christian Fennesz in the late 90s, is finally re-releasing their debut with bonus-tracks on double-vinyl and plays some shows, partly with new musician! Christof Kurzmann, arrange, saxophone, electronics. Christian Fennesz, arrange, guitar, electronics. Mex Wolfsteiner, drums. Günter Castanetti, electronic percussion. Wolfgang Ritt, electronic bass. Michael Moser, electronic bass. Michael Krupica, contrabass. Franz Reisecker, guitar. Klaus Filip, saxophone, electronics. Gerhard Birschitzky, trombone, guitar. Richard Klammer, trumpet. Thomas Berghammer, trumpet. Plus guests : Didi Bruckmayr, vocals. Markus Binder, Maultrommel (Jew's-harp). Peter Brötzmann, saxophone. Plus Axel Dörner, trumpet and Franz Hautzinger, trumpet on the unreleased bonustracks.
'The brainchild of Austrian musicians Christof Kurzmann and Christian Fennesz,Orchester 33 1/3 was designed to straddle the boundary between contemporary electro-acoustic improvisation and the large-ensemble avant-jazz pioneered by composers like Michael Mantler, who's a beneficiary of direct homage here. Fittingly enough, the first piece opens with the sounds of multiple vinyl clicks and scratches before their equivalent of concert A is promulgated through the group, used as an improvisatory platform/drone over which to improvise. Many of the pieces balance nominally opposing musical genres -- jungle versus free jazz, glitch-prov versus African rhythms, funk versus Moroccan horns, and so on -- but instead of sounding artificially staged, there's more than enough freshness of approach to make for a good deal of exciting listening. A track like S.O.S. starts out as a pure electronic soundscape only to surprisingly mutate into a horn-led dirge. Not one but two versions of Mantler's classic 'Preview' (from the album Communications, a 1968 masterpiece) are rendered here under the titles 'Review' numbers one and two, the first with Peter Brötzmann taking on the Pharoah Sanders role, the second featuring manic vocalist Didi Bruckmayr. That they manage to do justice to the original is high praise indeed. Sometimes the kitchen-sink idea can result in a huge mess with all elements weakened when stirred into the stew. Kurzmann and Fennesz are able to season things just right and achieve an invigorating balance between new and newer. Highly recommended.' (Brian Olewnick)