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The Moritz von Oswald Trio

Vertical Ascent

(Honest Jon’s; US: 21 Jul 2009; UK: 22 Jun 2009)

Moritz von Oswald’s collaboration with Carl Craig titled its resected classical pieces “Movements”. On Vertical Ascent, von Oswald’s collective troika with NSI’s Max Lodbauer and Sasu Rippatti (Luomo/ Vladislav Delay), the four tracks are “patterns”, though they certainly exhibit their fair share of movement as well. Von Oswald’s minimalist work, under the vast esoteric network of Basic Channel and its sister labels, imagined the song as a single vector, bent and subject to gravitational resistance but ultimately cyclical and single-minded. Vertical Ascent in contrast is wildly divergent, scattering its patterns about, but contained within the authoritative kingdom of the beat. That’s not to say it’s organized chaos but rather chaotic organization. The disjointed stratosphere of free-formed contours resemble the indeterminate avant-garde at first, but it’s the persistence of the pulse which makes these shapes most unsettling (and perhaps disqualifies them from the electroacoustic ranks), not unlike the rhythms in Ricardo Villalobos’ Vasco or Wolf Eyes’ Dead Hills EP, which are unrelenting despite what happens around them. 

The gorgeous junglistic beats of “Pattern 3” come perhaps closest to containing its world of sounds in a way that a dancefloor could understand, instigating a beautiful paring of misty and sparse Konigsförst of melody with a Schwarzwald of tribal stick batterings. On the other “Patterns”, the melody is peripheral, at best parallel, like a ghost shadowing the bounce and refraction of the incidental SFX, a presence but painfully distantiated. This is not an unfamiliar phenomenon to Basic Channel fans, but the synergistic quality of von Oswald’s talent, combined with three classically trained players, makes for an altogether different quality—like the rhythmic remixes Chain Reaction releases deserved and never received.


Timothy Gabriele is a writer who studied English and Film at the University of Massachussetts at Amherst. He currently lives in the New Haven, CT region with his family. His column, The Difference Engine, appears regularly at PopMatters. He can be found twittering @Wildcorrective and blogging at 555 Enterprises.

Moritz Von Oswald Trio- "Pattern 3"
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