Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet – Stone Water
2000 – Okka Disk
For those familiar with Brotzmann’s music, this album will fall in line with expectations, but for those who have never heard this music may be shocked. It is definitely not for everyone, and not for the faint of heart. That being said, I love it. Brotzmann’s music is an assault on the senses. It defies what is conventionally thought of as music, in a good way. This album is not one to be put on in the background as a soundtrack to your life, it needs to be played while you are giving it your full attention. The interactions between musicians are brilliant. There are points where the whole band is playing, following their own trail, but little parts match up between some of them, focusing the listener into a thread. There is a point during the second side of the album where one of the drummers and one of the bassists (there are two of each), join together and give the only hint of a conventional beat throughout the set. It only works because it sits beneath the madness that is happening above it, and the other musicians keep doing their own thing. This mastery of improvisation isn’t something that is comes along very often. The balance of following your own ideas and interacting/reacting to other’s ideas is on full display here. Being confident in your playing so that you don’t have to react to everything going on around you is a tenant of the music here. And, honestly, it is part of what makes working with ten musicians successful. If everyone just reacted to everyone else, this would be a boring album and not very cohesive. The dissonance brings everything together. Do yourself a favor, sit back, put this album on, and let it sink in.