reviews

CD ‘look with thine ears’

(clean feed records)




...”The result is that Look with Thine Ears is an excellent solo debut, full of surprises, varied, concise, straight to the point.”...

Martin Schray in www.freejazzblog.org


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..."Niggenkemper created an incredible tonal universe, so effortlessly without interrupting the musical flow...   

...from subtle and most lyrical to real energetic walking bass lines"... Lars Mossefinn in jazznytt (11/2013)


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..."Niggenkemper präsentiert hier die Früchte intensivster Auseinandersetzungen mit seinem Instrument und vermag ob des zu Hörenden in Erstaunen zu versetzen, zu verblüffen, ja stellenweise gar ungläubiges Kopfschütteln hervorzurufen...  ...das Resultat aber ebenfalls nur als äußerst gelungen und faszinierend zu bezeichnen. Another Must! “... Bertl Grisser in freiStil


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...”Their use is musical as is the total result of imaginative artistry that is Pascal here. The wealth of sonics is extraordinary and in the end it all comes through as music that gets your ear, and bass playing of a high caliber.

A fine effort, one of the best and most original of its kind.”... Grego Applegate Edwards in www.gapplegateguitar.blogspot.com


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...”Each piece is a kind of tone poem given over to the exploration of a technique or a defined range of timbres; many of these push the bass into acousmatic territory, but no matter how unusual the sounds, Niggenkemper manages to fit them to musical structures, often cohering around a rhythmic core.”... Daniel Barbiero in Percorsi Musicali


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..."Le tour de force de Pascal Niggenkemper, c'est de transformer sa contrebasse à la fois en objet et en être vivant...

...Lorsqu'il l'anime, il y a un corps à corps, un dialogue, une attirance charnelle qui fait que ce n'est pas seulement un musicien et son instrument, mais un prolongement... Un disque troublant et déchaîné ; indispensable, donc."... Franpi in www.franpisunship.com


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Kontrabasen blir till en hel orkester Niggenkempers händer. Det liknar inget jag hört förut. Oväsen, rytmik och klanglighet i fin balans. Detta är kontrabas i ny kostym. Joacim Nyberg in www.soundofmusic.nu


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Wann hat man schon einmal eine solche Vielzahl an Sounds, die ein Bassist produziert, gehört? Pascal Niggenkemper gelingt derlei scheinbar mühelos auf seinem ersten Soloalbum. Der seit einem Jahrzehnt in New York lebende deutsche Kontrabassist ist mit allen Wassern freigeistigen Schaffens gesegnet. N in Jazz’N’More


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...”superato il primo rumoroso impatto, luniverso sonoro che Pascal Niggenkemper riesce a creare in questo album in solo riuscirà sicuramente a sorprendere.”... An.Te. in jazzColours


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...”Bo należy do tych niewielu instrumentalistów którzy mają swoje własne unikatowe brzmienie. A że na dodatek jeszcze eksperymentuje on ze swoim instrumentem w sposób znaczący poszerzając jego brzmienie. Czasem naprawdę brzmi on jak nieco tylko większy brat skrzypiec, tworząc całe sobie tylko właściwe dźwiękowe przestrzenie i własne muzyczne światy. Takie jest też to nagranie, a że doświadczeń zdołał Niggenkemper zebrać w ciągu ostatnich lat niemało, więc kreatywności i inwencji naprawdę mu nie brakuje.”... Marek Zając in multicultiproject.blogspot.com


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...und dann ist plötzlich die beglückende Erkenntnis da: Hier betreibt jemand die radikale Grundlagenforschung am unmittelbaren Klang und liefert Resulate... Das Zerstören des musikalisch Ansprechenden im Hendrixschen Sinne war gestern. Jetzt mischen Niggenkempers Harshnoise-Attacken die geneigte Hörerschaft auf... Moduliertes Maschinengewehrfeuer geht einher mit sirrenden Flagolett-Schwebungen und „sul ponticello“-Verfeinerungen

Stefan Pieper in www.nrwjazz.net


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...”Dass der Mann da Bass spielt, muss einem erstmal gesagt werden. ...Da meint man eher noch Schlangenzahn und Pfeilspitze zu hören, als bloß Saiten, Holz, Rosshaar und pfiffige Präparationen. So verblüffend zirpt und schleift, braust und heult es da, dass man auf ein rau überblasenes Saxophon tippt oder den Hals verrenkt, um die Stromkabel und Motörchen zu entdecken. Erst bei 'if you will marry, make your love to me' kommen krasse Kratzer auch mit basstypischer Sonorität einher, in wie dr.-jekyll-mr.-hydescher Zweistimmigkeit. Dem folgen aber wieder unwahrscheinlich furzende und maultrommlige Impulse, ja fast eine Wildwestshow mit galoppierenden Hufen und knallenden Colts. Ganz ohne Blech geht das wohl nicht. Flirrenden kleinen Wellen folgt schnarrendes Picking zu 'Tabla'-Beat oder ein katzenjämmerlicher Cellogesang... Das ist ein Kontrabassist, wie er nicht im Buche steht.” [BA 85 rbd]


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...”Nagrana w nowojorskim 6D Studio płyta "Look With Thine Ears", zawiera muzykę abstrakcyjną i spontaniczną, kreowaną przez doprawdy wyjątkowy muzyczny zmysł jakim dysponuje amerykański kontrabasista. Jeśli mamy w poszczególnych fragmentach płyty do czynienia z wirtuozerią - jest ona każdorazowo przefiltrowana przez niebywałą fantazję w postrzeganiu dźwiękowej przestrzeni.”...  
by Robert Ratajczak in longplayrecenzje.blox.pl


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ウッドベースの木製のボディと金属の弦の共振に、異質なオブジェを加えて変容させて得られる物音的音響は、べースという大地に、未知の物体の種を蒔いて、ニゲンケンペルの卓越したテクニックで耕した結果、たわわに実った芳醇な果実に他ならない。実際にどのように演奏されたのかは資料が無くて分からないが、楽器全体が音響発生機に生まれ変わり、一聴してベースとは信じられない不思議なサウンドを発している。by Takeshi Goda in Jazz Tokyo


CD liner notes

Pascal Niggenkemper has explored numerous paths of expression in the past five years, from his duo with fellow bassist Sean Ali and the co-led trio baloni to his sextet 'le 7ème continent,' his septet Vision 7 and a host of ensembles in between with such partners as Gerald Cleaver, Thomas Heberer, Cooper-Moore, Simon Nabatov, Tatsuya Nakatani, Eve Risser and Tyshawn Sorey. Look with thine ears is his first solo recording, and it's safe to say there has never been a recording quite like it. It builds on the range of Pascal's musical experiences and desires and channels his impulses through a prepared bass, expanding the instrument's sonic range and developing the manifold possibilities for multiple voices. That polyphonic notion is paramount: as he says, "I am trying to work with multiple layers which happen simultaneously in each piece."

Since 2009 Pascal has been interested in generating musical landscapes through preparation. In 2014 he played with Michaël Attias and Satoshi Takeishi in a production of Shakespeare's King Lear: "The play had a strong impact on me in terms of the language and the acting. I was excited to use all these new techniques in the play, expanding my knowledge and reflecting it for the first time with words and acting." A sense of psychic terrain is engrained in the present music, from Pascal's reflections on Lear and his experience of the sounds of the metropolis since moving to New York a few years ago to the immediate physicality of the bass itself, its surfaces and materials, its special and secret buzzes and resonances.

Preparation here emphasizes the bass as landscape. Even beyond extended techniques, Pascal seems to anatomize the bass, using stops to alter string lengths, developing a host of alterations that will make of each string a kind of individual instrument, and adding reactive and resonating materials to bring forth sudden simultaneous sounds of a different character from the instrument itself. Given the scale of the instrument and the nature of the changes, notes can arise at some distance from the usual sound holes, capturing other resonances, changing the instrument's characteristic sound shapes.

He atomizes the instrument as well, staring with his ear into its particulate matter, exaggerating the metal of the strings and tuning mechanism, the wood of the body, neck and bridge. String instruments are finished in a thin varnish to allow the wood to resonate. As they age, they open up, becoming more resonant. It's an interactive process. Pascal's expansive method gives voice not only to his own impulses, but the instrument's as well, freeing those inner, incidental sounds not in keeping with the master plan of classical decorum.

The king wanders in the city–blind, at first disconsolate, then opening– ever more alive to its mysteries in ways previously unknown, alive to the beauty and abstraction in the frictive air, even in the anxious anticipation brought on by knife-edged high frequencies. Even knowing it's a bass, we can only make more-or-less-educated guesses about the precise construction of the sounds, each of us assembling instead a sonic map of one's particular magic city. Thus, "This shall not be revoked" might be a decisive moment in a set list discussion between The Thing and Eddie  "One String" Jones.  Even "sharper than a serpent's tooth" is a grinding tool in an auto body shop or a dentist's drill heard by a tooth. "Unpublished virtues of the earth" might eulogize Scott LaFaro and Charlie Haden (gone 53 years apart) together inventing the future of the bass on Ornette's Free Jazz (augmented by some percussion and here a flash of sarangi). 

Pascal is not just a topographer of an unknown city of sound, he's also a kind of one-man-band and something of a Frankenstein. There's a cajun/ calypso jam band loose on the joyous "Let me kiss your hand" (the same one that will next "Smell of mortality") and there's a newfound human presence in his bass, breathing in the circles of "Be this perpetual."

Pascal recalls, "Lear's phrase 'look with thine ears' grabbed my attention and I started to reflect on it: use the ears to understand people and the world. Using the visual sense, people are usually open and interested in experiences. It's such a beautiful sensation to listen to all sort of sounds and music, visualizing ideas of space with your ears."   Stuart Broomer, January 2015