WHAT NOW - Voyage (CD)
GK002Regular price $16.47
Progress and continuity often stand in each other's way. However, when these two supposedly antagonistic principles condition each other, great things usually happen. "Voyage", the second album by Germany's smallest big band Was Nun, is without doubt such a stroke of luck. The echo of the debut, which was only released last year, is still reverberating, and yet the six-piece band is breaking new ground.
As original as the band name Was Nun is, the group manages to ignore it in a wonderfully refreshing way on “Voyage”, because the sextet knows exactly what to do with their second coup. Saxophonist Moritz Aring, trumpeter Marvin Zimmermann, trombonist Jan Frederik Schmidt, pianist Tony Williams, bassist Marcus Lewyn and drummer Erik Mrotzek continue to cultivate the rebelliously distinguished sound of the predecessor, which leans graciously on the achievements of jazz history, but at the same time confidently looks to the future breaks up The arrangements for the three wind instruments and rhythm section are so polished and precise that it is often difficult to believe that there is only a sextet at work.
But the six protagonists of Was Nun are far too curious to be satisfied with what they have achieved. They took the initial momentum of the first album with them on their journey, but in the run-up to the production of the follow-up they gave a lot of thought to upcoming changes. From a series of theatrical projects that preceded the debut, the band were used to thinking in big time frames. But this time she wanted to enjoy the immediate moment more. This commitment to spontaneity comes across with concentrated power. While the six travelers on “Labyrinth” told a story about where they came from, on “Voyage” they mark all the more clearly where they are at the moment. This subtle leap into the present expresses itself differently in each song. Where other bands mature and age, Was Nun has audibly gained experience, but at the same time bathed in a fountain of youth without pandering to the taste of their listeners.
The songs of the band of six tell stories from the lives of everyone involved. Be it personal memories of individuals about stays in certain places or recently deceased friends or shared experiences of the whole band - the poignancy of the individual narrative pressure, which is translated into a collective language, is palpable from the first to the last note of the album . "They may be stories that only go back to one or the other in the band, but in the end they become stories that have something to do with all of us," sums up Jan Frederik Schmidt. "It's just because we always do so much together. Our private and professional stories are linked to form a common narrative thread.”
The new pace of Was Nun also includes upgrading the rhythm section. While the piano, bass and drums on “Labyrinth” were still – albeit prominently – a little overshadowed by the broad wind section, on “Voyage” they set their own accents. As a result, the play of Was Nun becomes more contoured and richer in contrast. Large parts appear even larger, smaller parts appear much smaller. The totality of opposites rests on all six shoulders. Bassist Marcus Lewyn emphasizes that there was no conscious decision behind this process, but saxophonist Moritz Aring notes that many parts simply wanted to be arranged less thoroughly. This opens up more freedom for the spontaneous development of ideas, and the rhythm section simply comes into its own.
The creative impulses of the band are distributed very evenly. Was Nun's signature, already deposited on "Labyrinth", is unmistakable, and yet the travel group on "Voyage" has become much more unpredictable in detail and the dramaturgy has become more unpredictable from song to song, but also within the respective songs. "The album may seem like a collection of short stories," Aring says, "but all of these stories have common threads. That's why we decided on the album title 'Voyage'. What have we already experienced and seen together on our journey, and what might still be waiting for us on the horizon?”
Traveling always means leaving something familiar behind in order to gain something new. This magic of letting go is a common thread that runs through the songs on the album and is convincing every time you listen to it again.
Speaking of signature: One of the great strengths of the band is their brilliance. Are the fifteen or more voices that we sometimes think we hear really only six musicians? As if flying blind, the six voices combine to form a Meta Voice and thus manage to associate a multitude of other voices in the listener's ear. "We just know each other a lot better than on the first album," confirms pianist Tony Williams, "and we can play to our strengths much better. When I write a song for Was Nun today, I know exactly who will take it and how. In this way, I can give my colleagues voices that exactly match their personality. We support each other just as much as we challenge each other in order to progress musically together.”
"Six come through the whole world" already stated the Brothers Grimm. And so the journey takes its course. A band reinvents itself while staying true to itself. Was Nun takes the imaginative ear on an entertaining, varied and eventful trip from the familiar into the unknown, which invites you to linger here, to look back there and again and again to set off.”
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