BUGGE WESSELTOFT — Duo (with Henrik Schwarz)

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BUGGE WESSELTOFT - Duo (with Henrik Schwarz) cover
3.80 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2011


1 First Track (Live From Berlin) 8:06
2 Dreaming 7:36
3 Leave My Head Alone Brain 8:00
4 Dudelange (Live From Luxembourg) 5:30
5 See You Tomorrow 6:40
6 Kammermusik 6:52
7 Where Is The Edge? 4:11
8 One One (Live From Cologne) 6:43


Henrik Schwarz - computer
Bugge Wesseltoft - piano

About this release

CD: Jazzland Recs/ Universal Music
LP: Mulemusiq (Japan)

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Nu jazz meets ambient techno and the sum is greater than the parts in the hands of these two excellent craftsmen. Good ambient techno is hard to come by these days. With the rise of cheap music making software any Joe with a computer can create endless amounts of new age sounding drivel, but ambient techno was never supposed to be that saccharine sweet, nor that easy to produce. Henrik Schwarz gets it right on here with that perfect blend of barely audible ambience and dry airy textures that are never sentimental. Add to that Bugge Wesseltoft’s very tasty and never overbearing treated piano and electric piano you have one very nice modern jazz CD.

Bugge’s playing on here is what you would expect from a modern electronica/jazz keyboardist, sort of a minimal Herbie Hancock-lite approach that mirrors Herbie’s own work mixing jazz and electronics back in the 70s. The fact that Bugge chooses to stick with real piano and Fender Rhodes is a great choice as it keeps the CD from sounding like the ambient techno generica herd. There is a very warm sense of play on here that verges on outright humorous satire on ‘Leave my Head Alone Brain’. On this one Wesseltoft plays piano clichés from the very early days of Chicago acid house while Schwarz brings the thump thump house beat as well as cliché slow moving high pass filter sweeps that were all the rage in 90s electro-dance music. Fortunately the two don’t get so carried away with their humor that this cut becomes a sore thumb, instead it blends with all the others as the whole CD becomes one big ambient electro-jazz soundscape where individual songs don’t matter much.

If you like a modern mixture of jazz and electronics along the lines of Spacetime Contiuum’s ‘Double Fine Zone’, then I doubt you will be disappointed in the careful thought and sensitive musicianship that went into constructing this very subtle gem.
Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft is often mentioned as one of the godfathers of nu jazz. At least, his early releases are nu jazz classics for sure. I never was a big fan of him, his music often sounded too "lightweight" or too dance-able /clubbing oriented for me.

This Bugges album is his duo with a musician not related to jazz at all. German Henrik Schwarz made his name on the Detroit/Berlin techno scene and is a respected figure in club electronic music. Possibly, it was a big risk that this album would be even more "clubbing" music or radical electronics, but fortunately this didn't happen.

Even more - this album represents a very rare great balance between jazz roots and modern electronic music possibilities. Being almost minimalist, it contains live and studio recorded compositions - both of which are stylish and tasteful. I was really surprised at how well balanced this music is - it looks like both musicians didn't demonstrate their abilities separately, but just moved one towards the other in their music.

Most interesting is how Henrik uses his electronic devices - it's a great example of how samples and electronics can be used as a source for improvs! In all, the music on here is not too extravagant, more normal than one would expect. Also, it's a great side of this release - the listener won't be shocked or attracted by some tricks, this album contains real music, and you will like it or hate it because of that.

Members reviews

The Truth
A graceful little album of skillfully manipulated piano (which was well played to begin with).

This is my first delve into either of these two artists but it looked like a good way to quell my recent thirst for nu jazz. I definitely wasn't dissappointed, the album is a great one indeed, Wesseltoft definitely is an excellent jazz pianist and his playing is the main highlight but Schwarz really takes the piano to a new (or nu) level of beauty with his tech skills. Each track starts excellent but it only gains excellence when it is mutated with computerized elegance.

In short, this sounds like robotic lounge piano music. Isn't that enough said?

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