Discography Details


Alessandro Bosetti:
soprano sax
Michael Thieke:
Sabine Vogel:
Michael Griener:

Recorded 9/2/2003 by Ronny Trocker at studio P4, Berlin
Cover design Asi Föcker
Creative sources/lisbon 2004
01 6:30
02 6:30
03 6:46
04 6:53
05 7:03
06 7:03
07 7:01


Declaradamente, a nova geração de improvisadores não se preocupa só em acrescentar sons ao silêncio ou em desmistificar a associação do ruído com o volume sonoro. O quarteto formado por Michael Thieke (clarinetes soprano e alto), Alessandro Bosetti (saxofone soprano), Sabine Vogel (flautas em dó, piccolo e baixo) e Michael Griener (percussão) tem outra preocupação central, o espaço, ou melhor, a forma como se podem criar espaços ilusórios ou como os instrumentos (leia-se: os sons instrumentais) se fundem com o seu próprio espaço de difusão. «Schwimmer» é mesmo caracterizado como uma “organização de sons no espaço”, quando regra geral, na definição de música, se fala dessa mesma organização no tempo. Em texto de apresentação do projecto, Bosetti, que gosta de reivindicar a sua qualidade de “antropólogo dos sons”, lamenta que o interesse pela espacialização áudio surja apenas como um efeito final no trabalho composicional, interpretativo e/ou de improvisação, quando devia ser um dos elementos mais determinantes do próprio discurso musical. Daí, pois, o papel fundamental dos microfones e dos altifalantes nas execuções deste grupo, com cada instrumento a ser amplificado com os mais variados tipos de micros, e com as suas projecções sonoras estrategicamente distribuídas pelos locais de actuação. O registo deste disco não se ficou por aí: cada instrumentista gravou solos improvisados de sete minutos, que foram sobrepostos em cadeia até ao final.
Ou seja, não só se compôs na pós-produção o que foi antes improvisado, procedimento que já nada tem de novo, como se jogou com os vários espaços sonoros capturados, forjando na mistura, a partir deles, um outro espaço (meta-espaço?) totalmente fictício, o que já é outra coisa. A dimensão é conceptual, sem dúvida, como já vai sendo hábito nestes domínios, mas tem uma tradução prática que fala por si própria.
Rui Eduardo Paes criticas novas (P)

Nemmeno una probabile fiacca, dovuta al caldo soffocante di questi giorni, è riuscita a frenare il Portogallo e la propria scena indipendente, tra le più attive musicalmente al momento in Europa. Discorso non solo concerne al jet set dei musicisti, ma anche allargato agli ambiti produttivi, con etichette sempre più emergenti nel panorama internazionale. La Creative Sources, poi, nel corso di un modesto lasso di tempo ha subito una notevole crescita (produttiva e qualitativa), acquisendo un sicuro posto di riguardo da parte degli aficionados delle musiche di ricerca.
[...] D'altro spessore si presenta il quartetto firmatario di “ 7X4X7”: un lavoro che a tutto tondo catapulta dentro gli attuali meandri del circuito sperimentale berlinese. A fianco di Sabine Vogel, Michael Griener e dell'attivo Michael Thieke vi troviamo anche la mano di un Alessandro Bosetti che, dopo i recenti sviluppi solistici raggiunti con “Zona”, rende ulteriore conferma del mood introspettivo e, sempre più, elettro-acustico riservato alla sua musica. Aloni del passato collettivo Phosphor si rincorrono per i diversi strati, quieti in partenza più nervosi e tirati alla fine, che delineano un continuo viaggio sonoro. [...] Tre lavori che nascondono il sapore del ‘già detto’: questo il pensiero che balena alla mente, dopo essersi voltati ad osservare tonnellate di lavori simili accatastati sullo scaffale, ma importanti per l'etichetta, curata con passione da Ernesto Rodrigues. La possibilità di aprirsi, come in questo caso, a produzioni estranee al circuito iberico è di rilievo per un paese che, a differenza di molti, non vivendo di particolare benessere nutre una certa indifferenza nei confronti della propria comunità artistica.
Sergio Eletto, Sands-Zine

If you're tired of the plastic surgeries of today's idea of freedom, it could be a good idea listening to this quartet, formed by Michael Thieke (clarinets) Alessandro Bosetti (sax) Sabine Vogel (flutes) and Michael Griener (drums). Theirs is the sound of alienated volatile creatures in an enormous metal cage, looking for the door to a just imaginary escape. Since the very beginning, the musicians apply a cold stare to introspective dialectics, rubbing, blowing and tongue-popping their instruments' cavities until air is projected in a multitude of shapes and - sometimes - in almost painful icicles for the ear. Struck by the group's engaging attitude, I can't help but looking for imaginative comparisons, actually to no avail. The whole sound organization is remarkable; minuscule fragments and more violent emissions weight the same, accumulating anxiety and tension that don't ask for help. Self constraint can yield more power than you could guess, if it's channeled into the right conduits.
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

The portugese label Creative Sources started as an outlet for the musical activitites of Ernesto Rodrigues. But since the cd by No Furniture, a trio of Boris Baltschun (sampler), Axel Dörner (computer, trumpet) and Kai Fagaschinski (clarinet), the label gives also room to german improv projects. Listening to the cd of Schwimmer this is no surprise, because the improv music of these ensembles is comparable to the projects of Ernesto Rodrigues. We hear the same sparse, meditative improv music, that gives room to each little sound, subtlety and silence. Schwimmer is a quartet: Michael Thieke (clarinet, alto clarinet), Alessandro Bosetti (soprano saxophone), Sabine Vogel (flute, piccolo, bass flute), Michael Griener (drums). They recorded on a day in february 2003 in Studio P4 in Berlin. The titles of the tracks on Schwimmer are pictographical presentations that contain some hidden logic. This shows a comparable love for abstraction. Because we cannot associate the music with the meaning of the titles, one could say that is focuses the listener more on the concreteness of sound. The music is sometimes so intimate and modest that it disappears into silence. Schwimmer dwell in a micro-world of sound close to silence.
Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly

Schwimmer is a fairly odd name for a quartet playing such sparse, diffuse music; its proper name seems misleading in a context as “egoless” as this. You never know: the title could be a sly revision of the old Monk classic 5xMonkx5 (whereas here we have seven tracks by four musicians; you get the point). The players are soprano saxophonist Alessandro Bosetti, clarinetist Michael Thieke, flautist Sabine Vogel, and percussionist Michael Griener. A lot of winds sessions explore heavily contrapuntal material, or complex notated music that one might encounter in, say, Scelsi, Xenakis, or Carter (September Winds is well known for the former, and Gebhard Ullmann’s Clarinet Trio for the latter). These players are interested in the music of breath and heartbeat, of steam and air, of slow geologic rhythms and earthen undulations. For those who have heard the triple-soprano summit Placés dans L’Air (where Bosetti teamed up with Bhob Rainey and Michel Doneda), this music has something of that recording’s near hush. But with Griener and the slightly more cantankerous Thieke on board – the percussionist achieves a kind of laminal space, like Burkhard Beins, while Thieke favors wet gurgles and rude splats – things don’t ever get too still. There may be a lonesome tone that could almost come from Sachiko M or Toshi Nakamura, a glittering wave of pure harmonics that sounds electronically-produced. Yet these are balanced by passages where the four players generate sound as if from a single twittering machine. The contrast between the moments of bare audibility, Messiaen-like bird-calling, and the harsh, guttural sound of metal is often exquisite. The point of Schwimmer’s playing is not to generate “events” or “expressions”; in fact, it almost seems like the point is to see how the sounds are swallowed up, more than to see how they are produced in the first place (though with sounds as alien as these, the notion of production is pretty fascinating). Indeed, I keep returning to metaphors of casing, enclosure, and framing for this record. Maybe that’s because Griener is so adept at carving out giant sonic shapes with his percussion, or perhaps it’s simply a function of how adroitly this quartet explores limits (instrumental, formal, interactive). Regardless, there is a subdued power to this music that grows with each listen.
Jason Bivins, Dusted magazine

Schwimmer are a Berlin based quartet featuring clarinetist Michael Thieke, soprano saxophonist Alessandro Bosetti, flautist Sabine Vogel and percussionist Michael Griener, who, taking advantage of the multitracking facilities in Ronny Trocker’s P4 Studios, managed to record nearly the entire album by not playing together at all.
The odd collection of colour-coded symbols (microphones, headphones and scissors) adorning the booklet explains the horizontal nature of the process: Thieke recorded a seven minute solo, on top of which Bosetti improvised, followed by Vogel and finally Griener. For the second track, Thieke played along with this entire first quartet, followed by Bosetti, Vogel and Griener, after which the first quartet was erased, leaving the second.
And so on, until the seventh and last track, where all four improvised along with quartet six (duly erased). Hardly surprising then that this final piece is more concerned with sustained sonorities and harmonic colour. Elsewhere, however, the overall dynamic level remains low, the music bustles with activity, and has more in common with vintage English insect music than with what is normally described as Berlin lowercase. Griener’s tight, meticulous percussion flurries often recall John Stevens. They mesh perfectly with the stifled grunts, draughty flutters and wheezes of the wind players. To thicken the plot, the close miked instrumental tracks are mixed and panned to great effect, heightening the music’s quietly dramatic sense of timing.
Hardcore Reductionists of the Radu Malfatti persuasion will no doubt find it all too busy, and while the most effective moments occur when sustained high-pitched tones from the winds and some well-aimed thwacks and pings from Griener ventilate the structure, the album as a whole is refreshingly light and colourful.
Dan Warburton, The Wire

[…] Berlin-based Schwimmer, on the other hand, is a reductionist combo concerned with organization of sounds in space on the border of inaudibility. The cast of characters on 7X4X7 represents a younger generation most stimulated by the differences between sound and silences. Milan-born soprano saxophonist Alessandro Bosetti plays with other microtonalists like American saxist Bhob Rainey and German prepared guitarist Annette Krebs. Munich-born flautist Sabine Vogel moves between New music, pop and a duo with Australian drummer Tony Buck. Clarinetist Michael Thieke has worked with American jazzers like drummer Jim Black plus reductionists like trumpeter Axel Dörner, who also plays with Bosetti. Nuremberg-born drummer Michael Griener has the widest experience, with gigs ranging from backing up mainstream jazz guitarist Herb Ellis to playing with Dörner. Ellis' licks will be the farthest thing from your mind on 7X4X7 however. If the longtime Oscar Peterson sideman's leitmotif is bluesy swing, then Schwimmer's is a shrill, almost ear-splitting tone that for 10 to 15 seconds at a time emanates from one or two of the reeds, pushing past dog-whistle territory into the realm of discomfort. This happens most frequently on track four, though with all the piece about the same length, the piercing tone is about all that distinguishes it from the others, since all coalesce into one piece of absolute microtonal sound. In between these shrill ear canal invasions as well as a feline hisses and simple puffs from the reeds, are extended screw tightening noises from Griener that lead to direct hits on cow bells, hollow wood blocks and rattling maracas. Although the occasional bounce, flam and press roll is heard, most of the drummer's conception is as involved with extended techniques, as the reedists are. Among his creations are prolonged scratches on the ride cymbal top with a drum stick, a crumpling newspaper sound and extended timbres that result from using a wire brush for swizzle stick-like motions on parts of his kit. Not to be outdone, the horns produce throat growls from within their body tubes, Bronx cheers, reed smears, tongue slaps, the sound of saxophone bells muted against trouser legs, hisses, irregular vibrations, key percussion false fingering and flattement. Squeaking mouse tones and chickadee squeals also arise in the flute and penny whistle-like textures from the clarinet. Combing in double or triple, often broken octaves, one reed can resonate with busy wasp stings, while the other produces deep throat gurgles. Together, triple counterpoint gives the three a wider, more dissonant sound, melding and increasing in intensity until all pitchslide into polyharmonic glissandi. Meanwhile, Griener repeatedly scrapes his cymbals. Overall, the most distinctive -- and most frequent oral technique from the reedists -- is also the simplest: billowing pure colored air through the body tube without moving the instrument's keys. The result can be a wisp, a gargle or a subterranean roar, at intervals accompanied by compact bell-ringing tones. Approaching percussion and reeds from different angles, these fine CD highlight the tremendous variety of what gets classed as so-called jazz or improvised music. It's the listeners who benefit from this versatility.
Ken Waxman, JazzWord

Czy swiadomosc faktu, jak powstala dana plyta ma istotne znaczenie dla jej oceny ? Czy liczy sie tylko ostateczny rezultat, czy tez powinno brac sie pod uwage, jakie zalozenia, jakie pomysly lezaly u jego podstaw ? Szczerze mówiac nie wiem, wlasciwie lubie myslec, ze liczy sie dla mnie tylko efekt koncowy, ale przeciez zyjemy w czasach dyktatu sztuki konceptualnej i czestokroc bardziej ekscytuje nas pytanie: "jak?" , a nie "co ?". Nie mogac zatem nie brac tego pod uwage, spróbuje w kilku zdaniach przyblizyc w jaki sposób stworzono omawiana przeze mnie plyte. Byc moze niektórych skloni to do siegniecia po nia i przekonania sie samemu, czy rezultat tych zabiegów w sposób istotny zalezy od metody. A przyjeta zasada jest niecodzienna, choc zarazem prosta. Otóz, w utworze otwierajacym plyte, najpierw improwizuje jeden z muzyków, gdy konczy jego miejsce zajmuje drugi, który grajac slyszy w sluchawkach, partie zarejestrowane przez poprzednika, nastepnie trzeci (a w tym przypadku wlasciwie trzecia) dogrywa swoje, sluchajac co powstalo z polaczenia obu powstalych wczesniej sciezek, no i na koniec gra czwarty z muzyków, który doklada swoja cegielke - oczywiscie, jak mozna sie spodziewac, slyszac nalozone na siebie trzy "warstwy" muzyki. Po zlozeniu wszystkiego w calosc, mozna konstruowac kolejne piec nagran. Powstawaly one wedlug podobnej zasady, tyle tylko, ze oprócz poprzednika lub tez poprzedników - zalezalo to od tego, którym byl z kolei - kazdy z improwizatorów, slyszal równiez poprzedni utwór. Jednak wczesniejsze nagranie nie stawalo sie, przynajmniej w sposób doslowny, skladnikiem powstajacego - na dane, w kazdym przypadku, skladaly sie tylko cztery sciezki. Nieco odmienna byla geneza utworu ostatniego. Otóz, gra w nim jednoczesnie caly kwartet, sluchajac przy tym utworu numer szesc. Oczywiscie natychmiast nasuwa sie pytanie: czy ta róznica jest zauwazalna ? Byc moze ucho bardziej wprawne od mojego ja wychwyci, ja jednak jej zbytnio nie odczuwam. Zwróce uwage na jeden aspekt - choc byc moze nie jest to stan faktyczny, a jedynie to zludzenie spowodowane sila sugestii - wydaje mi sie, ze utwór ostatni charakteryzuje nieco bardzie plynny przebieg; swoista ciaglosc - nawet pomimo pojawiajacych sie tu i ówdzie pauz lub chwilowych wyciszen - dzwieków wydobywanych z poszczególnych instrumentów. Aczkolwiek moze to tylko zludzenie.... 7x4x7 wypelnia muzyka, bedaca w pewien sposób pochodna tego, co okresla sie mianem "berlinski redukcjonizm". Jest ona jednak, byc moze za sprawa perkusisty choc chyba nie tylko, bardziej niz zwykle gesta i wyrazniej nakreslona. Oczywiscie jest to wciaz muzyka niezwykle introwertyczna, oparta na nieustannej interakcji pomiedzy dzwiekami, tymi cichym i tymi glosniejszymi oraz, w tym przypadku krótkotrwala, cisza, jednak zaskakujaco czesto pojawiaja sie w niej niezwykle intensywne tony. Nagrania rozgrywaja sie w swiecie zawansowanych technik artykulacyjnych; poswiecone sa w jednakowym stopniu kreowaniu nagrania, co nieustannej eksploracji mozliwosci sonorystycznych instrumentów. Wszystko to razem powoduje, ze muzykom udalo sie stworzyc swoiscie pojmowana przestrzen, w której swobodnie sie poruszaja wzajemnie sie dopelniajac, najwazniejsze jest jednak to, ze potrafili nadac muzyce wymiar osobisty. 7x4x7 to niewatpliwie udana plyta, do siegniecia po która zachecam. Nagrana przez kwartet, w skladzie którego znalezli sie klarnecista Michael Thieke, saksofonista Alessandro Bossetti, flecistka Sabine Vogel i perkusista Michael Griener (wymienieni zgodnie z kolejnoscia rejestrowana swoich partii), stawia przed nami pytanie o granice muzyki improwizowanej. Nie wiem, czy tak powstala muzyke mozna jeszcze zaliczyc w jej poczet - to zreszta wydaje sie byc glownie problemem dla teoretyków - wiem natomiast, ze czwórce mlodych muzyków, z których najbardziej znany jest Bossetti, udalo sie to co najwazniejsze, czyli stworzenie nagran, które sledzi sie z nieustajacym zainteresowaniem, w pelni akceptujac to, co dobiega z glosników.Jesli podczas sluchania znajda Panstow chwile czasu, to prosze zastanowic sie nad tym, jaka role pelni Michael Thieke, muzyk, który grajac jako pierwszy, wprawia wszystko w ruch: czy jest demiurgiem, czy tylko skromnym kamieniem dajacym poczatek lawinie ? Chetnie poznalbym Panstwa opinie.
Tadeusz Kosiek , Diapazon

Two releases from the intriguing Portuguese label Creative Sources, each with bits and pieces to recommend it, each with the sort of commonly found flaws one comes to expect in this area of music.Schwimmer is a quartet comprised of Alessandro Bosetti (soprano sax), Michael Thieke (clarinets), Sabine Vogel (flute, bass flute, piccolo) and Michael Griener (percussion). The album title alludes not only to the seven tracks by the four musicians but also, one assumes, the 7-minute limit imposed on each improvisation. I’m a big fan, generally speaking, of the idea of “restricted” improv, where players must contend with certain rules or meta-musical conceits, but the notion of simple time limits strikes me as somewhat trivial. Bosetti is the only member whose work I’ve been fairly familiar with and, as before, I tend to find his approach a tad or two on the academic side for my taste. This dampens the enjoyment I otherwise derive from the sound developed by the three winds which, much like that heard on the Dörner/Kelley/Neumann/Rainey disc, “Thanks Cash”, is inherently appealing and simply fascinating to listen to. Indeed, I thought much of “7 x 4 x 7” would have been better served without Griener’s presence as his contributions, reminding me in some ways of Tony Oxley’s more delicate work, lend the tracks an air of British 60s free improv, a coloration that doesn’t particularly enhance the rest of the music. As one might expect, the improvisations are all rather quiet with plenty of breath-tones, flutters, bubblings, sputterings, etc. which is all well and good and, in fact, the pieces cohere fairly well. As pure sound, they’re enjoyable enough, as music that evinces any real passion to exist, they’re lacking, coming off as a bit dry, a little calculating.

In the second half of the 1990s, the new "reduced" aesthetics pursued by Radu Malfatti and others threw down a fundamental challenge to the world of improvised music. Within a few years, a number of the original explorers of "reductionism" had begun to move beyond the principles and practices that had initially defined this austere musical movement. In issue 89 of Musicworks magazine (Summer 2004) the Berlin-based trombonist Robin Hayward observed that "by 2000 I was feeling in a cul-de-sac with the much reduced, static music I was producing" and explained how he subsequently sought to break his self-imposed rules by, amongst other things, including an element of narrative structure. More generally, the question of how a viable and relevant musical improvisation for the start of the 21st century should be approached in the light of the aesthetics, techniques and insights of reductionism (and their limits) has arisen not just amongst those identified (usually by others) as 'reductionists' but also a number of thoughtful musicians across the improvised music spectrum. To a degree, each of the three …latest releases on Lisbon's industrious Creative Sources label can be seen as a response to this musical problem.
From the heart of Berlin's reductionist community comes Schwimmer, a quartet comprising Alessandro Bosetti (soprano sax), Michael Thieke (clarinet), Sabine Vogel (flute) and Michael Griener (percussion). In recording 7x4x7, the group utilized an unusual method. To quote Bosetti's sleeve notes: "a player (clarinettist Michael Thieke) played and recorded a seven minute long solo. A second player overdubbed a seven-minute long solo over this statement while listening to it. A third musician overdubbed onto the two previous tracks a third segment and so on in a chain reaction that leads to a longer structure (which could be reconstructed by those willing to do so, through the amazingly detailed graphic description on the CD jacket, an artwork in itself)". The effect of this procedure is to destroy any element of contemporaneous collective interaction; moreover, the task of ascertaining at any given moment who is alive to whom and who is merely providing a backing track surely imposes too great a cognitive burden to be compatible with enjoyment of the music. In consequence, the listener must abandon any hope of detecting and appreciating any substantive element of ongoing group interchange and collaboration and turn instead to the work as a mere sonic artifact. It's something of a surprise to find that the sound object so laboriously constructed rather resembles that of an ordinary improvisation (except, of course, without any element of extemporaneous collective engagement to be entered into by the listener). The sleeve notes indicate that the work was intended to explore the musical dimension of space by means of both the recording method plus "close miking, multiple miking, spreading many loudspeakers throughout the room [and] the virtuoso and massive use of noise and extended techniques", but none of this succeeds in opening interesting spatial dimensions within the recording. The reductionist vocabulary of exhalations, flutters, scrapes, etc. is duly employed in various combinations and densities, but what emerges seems uninspired, stilted and somewhat rambling. It also on occasions falls back into arrangements that resemble the quieter end of 1970s groups such as the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. […]
Wayne Spencer, Paris Transatlantic

Schwimmer Konzertrezension
Musikalischer Wasserkreislauf
„Schwimmer“ mit Improvisationen
Die 107. Ausgabe der Reihe Improvisationen präsentierte eines der innovativsten Projekte der experimentierfreudigen Improvisatoren-Szene Berlins. Im MIB-Saal gastierte das Quartett „Schwimmer“, eine Formation aus drei Holzbläsern und einem Perkussionisten.
Sofort fällt im Vergleich der Akteure ein unterschiedlich gearteter Purismus ins Auge. Michael Grieners Schlagzeugset könnte winziger nicht sein: Es besteht aus einer Pauke, die der gleichsam im traditionellen Jazz wie in der Improvisation geschulte Schlagzeuger vorrangig als Resonanzraum benutzt. Dafür bearbeitet Griener das Fell mit einer Armada typischer (Sticks, Becken, Glocken, Schlegel, Schellen) und untypischer Perkussionsinstrumente wie Ketten, Flummis, Tapeziermesser, einer Metallschüssel mit Bogen oder zwei Styroporkugeln, deren Einsatz nichts für Quitsch-Phobiker ist. Ähnlich auffällig Michael Thieke, denn auch der Klarinettist arbeitet mit einem Resonanzraum, der seinen Ton in ein mitunter fast elektronisch anmutendes Volumen potenziert-sein Mikrofon ist in einen mitschwingenden Holzrahmen mit flexiblen Oberflächen eingebaut, die auch direkte Berührungen abnehmen und „vergrössern“.
Im Vergleich mit den Partnern wirkt das Spiel der Flötistin Sabine Vogel relativ klassisch. Variation geschieht hier vor allem durch Wechseln der Stimmlage zwischen Bass-, Quer- und Piccoloflöte. Dagegen offenbart das Spiel von Alessandro Bosetti einen introvertierten Minimalismus. Mit seinem häufig gestopften Sopransaxophon erforscht er Klänge des Inneren und entdeckt auf diese Weise- beispielsweise durch Modulation des Luftstroms oder den variierten Sound des blubbernden Kondenswassers- einen Klangmikrokosmos.
Aus ihren persönlichen Anlagen, die allesamt einer Art erweiterten Minimalismus verkörpern, erzeugen die Akteure Klangreisen mit weiten Spannungsbögen von Apathie bis Aggression, zwischen Askese und Alarm. In den Sätzen bietet sich dem Assoziationshungrigen das Bild des Schwimmers (oder besser: Schwimmgruppe) an, der in einem offenen Wasserkreislauf die Reise des industriell genutzten Elementes miterlebt- vom tröpfelnden Regen, über den sanften Quell und den sprudlneden Bach, über reißende Stromschnellen und einen zerstörerischen Wasserfall geht es in einen stillen See und von dort aus in das Innere einer Dampfmaschine, aus der es wieder aufsteigt.
Andre Hesel, Bremer Zeitung 05/2005