Staff Correspondent
Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, in cooperation with Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), organized a jazz music concert by the band Tubes & Wires on Tuesday, 4 December at the Experimental Theatre Hall of BSA.
Niels Klein’s quartet Tubes & Wires, currently on a jazz tour in South Asia, presented a unique instrumental line-up based on electrified clarinets and analogue synthesizers to create a strangely diffused analogue-electric sound.
German jazz musician Niels Klein has been a part of many ensembles in the past, but none as unique as Tubes &Wires, a band that seamlessly blends the sounds of wooden and electronic musical instruments.
As a quartet band that plays forceful rock music in the attitude of jazz musicians through implementation of their instrumental techniques, there is a version of indie-jazz-rock music that transcends stylistic borders.
“Since childhood I always wanted to visit Bangladesh”, Niels Klein said. With Lars Duppler on e-piano and synthesizers, Hanno Busch on guitar and bass, Ralf Gessler on drums, and the bandleader on various clarinets, Klein presents forceful rock music that is played with the attitude of jazz musicians when it comes to instrumental technique. Saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Klein named his band and new CD somewhat jokingly Tubes & Wires. ‘Tubes’ stands for the various clarinets that Klein plays and ‘Wires’ represents the many electronic, analogue and digital devices that connect with cables and drive his ‘effect clarinets’.
Klein’s Tubes & Wires quartet in fact sounds as if he, together with his band mates, transported Joe Zawinul’s motto for the 1970s group Weather Report, ‘We always solo, we never solo,’ into the present for contemporary improvisers from Europe. Klein explains, “I step back from the position of a soloist, and act with my effect clarinets more like an electronic ‘wind organ’. My band mates offer a flexible set of instruments that consists of guitars, basses, keyboards and drums in order to create a strange analogue-electric sound”.
There are several reasons for the strangely diffuse sound of Tubes & Wires, since each musician in Klein’s quartet takes on different functions with their various instruments, it is easy to transcend stylistic borders, to stretch the improvisations beyond the limits of tonality and combine elements from the sound and groove into a collage made up of jazz, rock, pop, funk and club culture. Generally, there are not any digital derivatives in use but real, analogue instruments. Lars Duppler plays a ‘real’ synthesizer and since there happened to be a harmonium around the studio, Duppler took its sound and incorporated it into the band, while Hanno Busch connected his guitars and his bass to an array of sound pedals. Tension from the drum set is infused into the rhythmic foundation of the band. For Tubes & Wires, Klein serves not just as the classic bandleader, but rather as a guiding spirit. On an ad hoc basis he manages how the various sound levels are put together or separated, which phrases are played at what points and decides which facets of his collage will take the limelight at what time. With his ‘effect clarinets’ he conducts the flow of ideas in an impromptu manner; he is in the thick of the action and on an equal footing with his musicians. Despite the musical profundity, Klein’s compositions are infused with a sense of humor.
Their songs would begin in a floating, meandering way and then build into frenzy. They were wonderfully weird and wacky. Influenced by science fiction, they played a song that was inspired by ‘Tron’. Speaking about the performance Klein said, ““In science fiction, you have the more philosophical side like the aspects and theories, but you also have the more fun side, like spaceships and robots, and so similarly my music is complex and thoughtful but there’s still some fun aspects to it.”
The organizers and guests who dropped in to celebrate the anniversary were treated with a great musical night. The rock concert by German band enthralled the music buffs gathered at the BSA premise.