Carl Ludwig Hubsch’s Primordial Soup: Carl Ludwig Hubsch’s Primordial Soup (2007)
Tuba player Hubsch is joined on Carl Ludwig Hubsch's Primordial Soup by trumpet, reeds, and drums for a program of his own compositions which reveals a singular musical intelligence. As with so many musicians and composers working in the constructively grey area between free jazz and contemporary composition, the success of the music is highly dependent upon the musicians called upon to perform it, and Hubsch has been judicious in his selection of players for the realization of this project.
Some of the music is, however, both minimal in its lack of rhythmic, melodic and harmonic development and in the way it eschews overt emotional content aside from the coldest, perhaps overtly cerebral formalism. The twelve minutes of "NGC 2271 Hades B is a case in point, made up of often long, seemingly disconnected tones conveyed with minimal inflection.
The relatively brief "Flexus offers a working alternative, however. Here the music is rife with intrigue, a mood, which is sustained through a cathartic passage that dissolves in turn into an ending irresolute enough to suggest that the piece should have been given more time to develop; the notion of allowing the music to breathe is highly pertinent in this instance.
On "Pressio #2 the already discussed formalism seems melded with a desire to occupy a space abstract enough to evoke the pure electronics of, say, Conrad Schnitzler, and certainly the result is the sound of music largely transcendent of overt human involvement.
The ten minutes of "NGC 2270 Terrier is, in essence, an intriguing insight into how this group is capable of functioning when it plays as such. The obvious signs of human input are more than welcome, not least because they are akin to the sun coming out on a snowbound day in December by comparison with the permafrost of a lot of the music that precedes it. Frank Gratkowski on clarinet gets in some of his most charged work of the program, and trumpeter Axel Dorner reveals an impish take on the jazz trumpet canon at the same time as he offers the most overt example of his musical personality.
The lasting impression of Carl Ludwig Hubsch's Primordial Soup is that of a program that can be divided into two unequal halves, which arguably makes it inevitable that many listeners could hope the group stays together long enough to better realize its potential. As it stands this music is likely to appeal only to a highly selective audience at the same time as it undoubtedly charts some highly distinctive territory.
Track Listing: NGC 2271 Hades B; NGC 2274 Melos; Pressio #1; NGC 2273 Vier/Four; Flexus; Pression #2; NGC 2270 Terrier; NGC 2276 Inspektion; Harpa Gratkowskae.
Personnel: Axel Dorner: trumpet; Frank Gratkowski: reeds; Carl Ludwig Hubsch: tuba; Michael Griener: drums, percussion.