Tobias Preisig: Drifting: Release Information
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Release Date: 21.03.2014
TT Catalogue No: 4605
Tobias Preisig – Drifting
Do you know Tobias Preisig? Exactly, the highly acclaimed jazz-violinist from Switzerland, who set new standards between the virtuoso playfulness of jazz and the obstreperous directness of alternative rock with his CD “In Transit” in 2012. The record invited the listener to dauntlessly yell out “Keep it up!” Now “Drifting”, the new release of the violinist and his quartet, is available. Therefore it is worthwhile asking again: Do you really know Tobias Preisig? Because if you believed so far, that you can straightforwardly answer this question with a definite “Yes”, then you will get to know him in a whole new way on “Drifting”.
There are CDs, where it requires many words to describe the music. For Tobias Preisig’s third album one single word is enough, to say almost everything you need to know about this CD in advance. The title “Drifting” perfectly puts in a nutshell what this is about. Four musicians, who let themselves drift through the infinite possibilities of sound, free of any set target and without applying too much concept or superstructure.
If “In Transit” was a violin-album, on which a virtuoso flashes on all facets of his skills, “Drifting” is a CD with violin. The difference between these two principles is far bigger than it seems at first glance. Tobias Preisig no longer needs to demonstrate what he can accomplish on his instrument. This time it’s about answering entirely different questions. How far can he go with the sound possibilities of his four strings? How much can he hold back as a player and in this reduction still maintain a maximum of surprises? And how can he weld together an ensemble of soloists and individualists in a way, that the attention within the overall context is no longer directed towards the individual musical voice?
Preisig and his colleagues (Stefan Aeby on piano and Rhodes, André Pousaz on bass and Michi Stulz on drums) primarily focused on moods. In retrospect he describes “In Transit” as gloomy, “Drifting” however is transparent in every sense and is pervaded by different states of light. To build up and maintain an atmosphere all means are allowed. In the end, only sound is what counts. With his violin, Preisig sets all imaginable traps for the ear and mind. “Where did the violin go?” the attentive listener might ask himself at times, although it has long since snuck in through a back-door into the tremendously spatial soundscape of the band. As holistic as it might appear at first, the music actually consists of innumerable affectionately intertwined details.
The cover already suggests this love for detail. Totally detached from context, the word “Zero” is written on the inside of the booklet, which says just as much about the music as the title itself. Zero refers to the starting point from which everything is possible. Everything begins at zero. At every performance of the Tobias Preisig Quartet the term “Zero” is mentioned and like an ignition opens the way to the horizon. With this habit, the four Swiss musicians follow in the footsteps of the Wayne Shorter Quartet, who regain their gigantic fund of freedom in this way at every concert anew. Outstretch all limbs and the mind, allow yourself to drift and pick up on the way, whatever comes by. What that will be in particular cases though, you can never tell at the beginning of a piece.
But “Zero” is not only attended by a commitment to your own openness, but also requests of the listener, to completely open up again and again with each listening. Because the quadrant where this music takes place is in no way firmly defined, but rather changes according to emotional condition, to time of the day or season and depending on surroundings, in which you hear the songs. Locating the incredible journey that Preisig takes us on somewhere between Massive Attack and Mahavishnu orchestra would be too simple. Colors, smells, movements, dilations, aggregate states and degrees of density play a just as important part as musical role models.
“Drifting” is not a better or worse album than “In Transit” and whoever loved the predecessor can still do so. “Drifting” is as open in all directions, as much as “In Transit” was clearly defined and to the point. Both CDs together add up to a perfect whole of an extraordinary musician and his band, whose mutual path is completely at the beginning at any point in time and always will be.