Sunday June 2nd , prepare yourself for ‘future jazz’ of a — oh. You stopped reading at ‘future jazz’. Keep reading, it’ll be worth it, because this is MUTEK, and we promise you’ve never heard anything like the electro-acoustic stylings of of Norwegian jazz artist and composer Bugge Wesseltoft before. Here Wesseltoft (what a great name) appears again with German deep-house musician and producer Henrik Schwartz. The Duo is back.
Coming from a ‘Nordic Jazz’ background of the chilled-out minimalist sort, Wesseltoft is already known for his work with French techno producer Laurent Garnier, where he made forays into electronic loops and beats. He’s sometimes considered part of the rubric of nu-jazz, but don’t let the easy-listening label fool you; with a background in musical academia and a virtuosic command of the keys, he’s more of an experimentalist than the average Cafe del Mar ivory-tickler. In short, he’s a perfect addition to MUTEK.
Since 2009, Wesseltoft has also collaborated intermittently with Henrik Schwartz, and their labours grew into a project called Duo by 2011. In the album named, dryly, just that, Wesseltoft and Schwartz lay forth meandering, organic compositions, heavily improvised on both the piano and electronic sides.
Waves of reverb, synth arpeggios and white noise colour the tone of a funkified piano that seems to drift through space. Vibes swell from chill to frantic and back; think of Tim Hecker mixing it up with Nik Bärtsch on Jean-Michel Jarre‘s sci-fi backlot and you might not be too far from the mark. It’s not easy listening, per se, but it’s easy to get into. The Duo project’s endearing rough edges, free-for-all soundscapes and occasional transcendence received great reviews, and fans have been eagerly awaiting the next iteration of the project.
MUTEK 2013 will be Wesseltoft and Schwartz’s first appearance at the fest. If you want to see what nu-jazz is capable of becoming in the right hands, you’re advised to chill your cortex at the piano-side while the Duo do their thing. To prepare you, here’s a highlight from a show in London 2010. Forget what you heard about ‘future jazz’ and admire the energy and improvisation on display: