A Few Empty Chairs


Having made music since the late '50s, Karl Berger is undoubtedly the veteran of the Conjoint gang -- bringing his consummate vibraphone skills which were honed through years working alongside the likes of Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Lee Konitz, Bill Laswell and George Clinton. A key figure in the avant-garde jazz scene, Berger's fluid musical style is perfectly counter-pointed by the electronic machinations of Jamie Hodge -- a Chicago-born digital manipulator whose first release back in 1994 on Richie Hawtin's Plus8 label became an instant classic and has since put out material for countless labels. Backing these two up is guitarist Gunther Ruit Kraus, a well-respected jazz musician from Heidelberg, Germany, and David Moufang -- otherwise known as Move D -- whose Source recordings was the initial catalyst behind the Conjoint project. A full-on techno luminary, Move D's work for Source, Warp and Fax have become key documents in the history of electronic music, while his collaborative credentials have also been established through projects such as Reagenz (with Jonah Sharp aka Spacetime Continuum), Deep Space Network (with Jonas Grossmann) and Studio Pankow alongside Jamie Hodge and Kai Kroker. Their third album as Conjoint, A Few Empty Chairs follows on from their previous release, wherein comparisons to the likes of Miles Davis were common . Very much a sum of its considerable parts, A Few Empty Chairs eschews a simple collaborative venture that signposts the various protagonist's individual contributions in favor of a cohesive and highly-evolved collection of music that defies easy categorization. Recorded live (but featuring no intrusive crowd noise), A Few Empty Chairs opens through the creased electronics and chiming acoustics of "Blue & White," where a deep jazz schematic is given bite through nervously rendered percussion. From here, the title track is a tensely-realized coalition of spiraling piano and heart-stopping rhythms, "Loopholes In My Lawn" is a soapy spray of cavernous atmospherics, whilst "Ruit Silvermoon" is the kind of track which will give the avant-garde a good name. Initial copies come w/ free a bonus 2nd disc, which reissues the first Conjoint album from 1997, originally issued by KM20/Source.