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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KELLER & SCHONWALDER: The Hampshire Jam (2012)

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

This is a good concert with great sequencer-based minimalist music, like only Keller and Schönwälder knows how to create

1 The Road to Liphook 26:35

2 Do You Remember the King? 26:18

3 Flow and Beat 16:59

(DDL 69:52) (V.F.)

(Minimalist New Berlin School)

Originally produced in 2005 following the Hampshire Jam 3 which was held at Millennium Hall in Liphook on October 24, 2004, THE HAMPSHIRE JAM was originally produced in a limited edition of 111 copies on CD-R format. With these 111 copies sold in a flash, THE HAMPSHIRE JAM had become one of the most prized pirate recordings of the famous trio master of long minimalist structures, Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder. This audience recording was captured by Tony Sawford whose tapes were reworked and remastered by Gerd Wienekamp (Rainbow Serpent) for the German label SynGate Records. And the end product is very good. Despite some small distortion problems when played at high volume (and it's really minimal), this THE HAMPSHIRE JAM offers better sound clarity of this superb concert where improvisation served wonderfully the long minimalist explorations of the German trio with 3 long tracks with rhythmic evolutions as captivating as they are bubbling. In fact, it's some very good BKS! Poetic and energetic, the trio displays its long sequential movements with unpredictable and fluid torrents which constantly swirl under layers, mists and synth solos as ethereal as they are ghostly. The Manikin label has recovered its rights for its download platform.

Fine breezes and galactic melting sounds initiate the beginnings of The Road to Liphook. Warm and inviting, the synth breaths rare lulling the stars of Orion while sound drops stigmatize this ocean of astral winds. Tablas percussions gently drum. They wait patiently for a sequential line to spit out its frantic keys which skip nervously to oscillate in large hypnotic loops and draw the main rhythmic axis that will flow throughout the evolutionary phases of The Road to Liphook. Bewitching, this apparently circular rhythm caresses our senses. Covered as it is with brief solo turning into laments and warm synth breaths with sighs of nostalgia and mists of melancholy, it progresses with an attractive slowness with percussions and sequences which become more and more insistent. And slowly, around the 10th minute, this rhythm jumps. Always covered with the breaths of tranquility, the sequences rebel and give themselves a latent impetus. Subdividing their strikes, they drum with a lively rotary movement under the tssitt-tssitt of the cymbals and the muffled pulsations of the bass drums. And dark breezes of voices envelop this rhythm which swirls with its technoïd jolts. But these swirling sequences isolate themselves and sparkle like keys detached from an abandoned structure. A structure caressed by solo breezes and which breathes the freedom of its intro when the rhythm resumes a last sprint of sequenced beats.

Following the same precepts, Do You Remember the King? agitates on fine manual percussions which pierce the veils of an intro drowned in an iridescent mist and enchanting fluty airs. The percussions multiply their strikes, allying themselves with sequences with wood tones which quiver in a rhythm shining with a technoïd effervescence, a bit like an escaped segment of The Road to Liphook where the rhythm of Do You Remember the King? remains prohibited. Forbidden to explode, it is gently pounded with an amalgam of uncertain sequences and percussions that a flute caresses of a dreamlike delicacy. The cymbals make click their tssitt-tssitt whereas synth waves twist in a loop, converging towards this stationary rhythm in an intense linear implosion. Hoops of limpid sequences surround this vast vertical movement which wriggles and gesticulates in all directions, releasing other sequenced keys which lose their cohesions in a tribal type of percussion strikes and these synth hoops which coo under solo breaths, adorning a final which embraces fond memories of the King's digital ages. The intro of Flow and Beat is one of dream. Beautiful synth layers lull the solitude, accompanied by Arabian winds which drag a world of melancholy. Its intermingled breaths weave a poetic approach that lonely piano notes envelop in an aura of perdition. But murky pulsations are getting forged in the distance. They attack the stillness with aggressive cymbals and muffled pulses, drawing the unleashed fate of Flow and Beat which will remain a hammered rhythm for the next 10 minutes. Roaring pulsations, spasmodic and stroboscopic sequences of various shapes and tones and finally with insistent cymbals and percussions; Flow and Beat is cast in a frenzied rhythmic alloy that will bend only with a weak harmonic nuance, while series of undulating piano notes and synth solos as floating as incisive envelop it in a harmonious layer. And it's in vaporous mists that the murky pulsations, cymbals and the last rolling of percussions that the death knell sounds for Flow and Beat which fight for its survival but which ends up extinguishing after more than 12 minutes of furious rhythmic loops hypnotics of the sequencer.

Even in its minimalist settings, the music of Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder is always evolving and sometimes explosive, THE HAMPSHIRE JAM amply demonstrates this. It's a very good album which is in the continuity of Musique des Machines where the crescendos of the sequenced structures, superbly well supported by the percussions of Bras Broekhuis, dawdle to instill long moments of cerebral hypnosis. It's a little as if the admixture rhythms of the trio always remained prisoners of their hypnotic and melodic structures. And I think that's what makes Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder so charming. In short, another BKS album to add to your collection. It's more than good ...

Sylvain Lupari (03/11/12) *****

Available at Manikin Records Bandcamp

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