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Four instruments. One composition. 25 ideas. Fast. Extreme. Refined. Every definition is a limitation. Hope without resistance. Development is the purpose of music, music itself is development, so music itself is purpose. Opposite every action is a reaction.

Enchanting, therefore essential. Music is when you are musical. The martial band name is a little misleading: the quartet Phalanx does not sound like a closed front, but is an open system. The main coordinates are jazz and something avant-garde metal-like that is hard to define. Anything can happen within these coordinates, and when the band speaks of "25 ideas" per composition, this is still a modest formulation.

The wealth of ideas and beauty of Phalanx's music arise from poles that are still traditionally opposed to each other: Jazz on the one hand, rock and noise on the other. Or in terms of instruments: the piano on one side, an electric guitar distorted in many interesting ways on the other. Jazz rock, so to speak - but without everything that often makes classic jazz rock so gruesome. In other words, without any self-indulgent prancing around and bad gimmickry.

Instead, the three musicians around band leader Mathieu Bech (piano) - Axel Zajac (guitar), Michael Haupt (bass) and Johannes Pfingsten (drums) - play an amalgam of jazz and avant-rock. Pieces in which elegiac piano melodies can be replaced by a freewheeling guitar without there being a change of genre; in which neoclassical sounds are interrupted by noise and you think "Yes, that's right". Or, to quote a track title: "Now I realize it too".

There is so much to discover on "Wild", Phalanx's debut album. A catchy piano line at the beginning and end of "Hansa 55" gets to the heart of the matter, but only briefly tapped, where others would build a whole piece out of such a melody. And in between, the instruments circle each other in a gentle improvisation. As in "Köln", where the metal guitar screeches and the piano holds its own, asserting a crystal-clear tonality and setting the direction, while Axel Zajac fabricates splinters and flashes of sound. Or, as in the four-part "Mexico", everything fragments into a small-scale jam, only to merge into a particularly beautiful passage at the end.

The connections made in the music of Phalanx are actually new in this form and only possible because four musicians from very different projects and traditions come together here. Mathieu Bech plays improvised music with the AusbruchDuo and - also with Johannes Pfingsten on drums - the Trio Flonks, but also folk rock with the Sem Seiffert Trio and reggae with Animo Sono. Bech is also a drummer, which also has an effect on the piano, which is often treated as a rhythm instrument here.

Axel Zajac plays guitar in the metal free jazz band Malstrom and has perfected the principle of noise infusion in this context. Bassist Michael Haupt forms something of an antithesis with the rather sunny-tempered jazz trio Joern and The Michaels. And drummer Johannes Pfingsten is involved in countless projects, including with the drum'n'bass duo Wallfacer.

All of this flows together in the sound of Phalanx and results in something new and unheard of on their debut album "Wild": jazz overflowing with melodies that has absorbed the intensity of rock and free improvisation.

  • Axel Zajac - Guitar
  • Xaver Feest - bass
  • Johannes Pfingsten - drums
  • Mathieu Bech - piano, composition

Free entry – it is suggested to give some money if you like the band.

Note: The Peppi is a smoking bar. Admission from 18 years.

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