Frames & Terrains (LP)

Martin Blume drums, percussion
Tobias Delius tenor sax, clarinet
Achim Kaufmann piano
Dieter Manderscheid piano
Recording track list

Side A
Frames & Terrains Part 1
Side B
Frames & Terrains Part 2
  • All compositions by Martin Blume (GEMA), Achim Kaufmann (GEMA), Dieter Manderscheid (GEMA) and Tobias Delius (BUMA/STEMRA)
  • Recorded live on June 9th, 2016 at LOFT, Cologne, Germany
  • Recorded and mixed by Stefan Deistler
  • Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
  • Front cover - original artwork „10000 signatures” by Martynas Ivinskas
  • Design by Oskaras Anosovas
  • Produced by Danas Mikailionis
  • Co-producer  - Valerij Anosov

"Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2018 by Colin Green - Free Jazz Blog"
"Previous collaborations between British-born (though to an Argentinean father and a German mother) reedman Tobias Delius and German pianist Achim Kaufmann include appearances in drummer Christian Lillinger's Grund and in the European version of NYC singer Fay Victor's Herbie Nichols project, so their pairing as part of a co-operative quartet on Frames & Terrains is not without precedent. That's as it should be as their partnership is a marriage made in heaven. Both prefer the road less travelled and bring finely honed maverick sensibilities to play on this limited edition LP (also available as a download).

Delius essays a stream of false fingered notes which are never confined in pitch and veer off in all sorts of choked snuffles, plaintive bleats and generally unexpected tangents. Kaufmann excels at being almost as off center, his chording and asymmetric lines evoking rows of glistening shards. But amid the wayward impulse, they also hit upon reiterated phrases which they bat back and forth in striking conjunctions. Keeping the proceedings towards the free jazz end of the continuum, bassist Dieter Manderscheid punctuates with keen commentary, while drummer Martin Blume lightly demarcates an often shuffling momentum. Both however switch effortlessly between pulse and coloration.

The continuous performance, divided onto two side long cuts, starts in the unhurried conversational mode which predominates. Although tenor saxophone and piano grab the ear, it's a four way exchange. Lovely restrained interplay abounds, absorbing without being overly cerebral and energetic without being strident. One of the pleasures lies in listening to how the spotlights shifts around the group from moment to moment, who leads and who supports. Highlights include the passage for clarinet, arco bass and percussion in which Manderscheid's darkly abrasive bowing matches Delius' arresting cries, and the dashing angular piano trio, eventually joined by tenor saxophone for a demonstrative and celebratory conclusion.

It's a superior demonstration of the art of the unfettered imagination."
John Sharpe
"At a 2016 concert in Cologne, Germany, the quartet of Martin Blume/dr-perc, Tobias Delius/ts-cl, Achim Kaufmann/p and Dieter Manderscheid/b get together for one hour+ of improvisation divided into two parts. “Part One” includes gasping tenor, pizzicato and bowed bass, explorative piano and intuitive drum work, while “Part Two” has a darker cue, including gasping and howling reeds, rustling piano and drums and throbbing bass. The music is free, loose and intuitive. Expressive with Jackson Pollock styled music."
Jazz Weekly Georges W.Harris

"Someone who has been part of numerous Free Jazz aggregations since the early 1980s, Dortmund-based percussionist Martin Blume is the constituent element that unites these recent sessions. Both are with working groups and filled out with an international cast of exemplary improvisers. Live in Prague 2017 is a trio with Dutch tenor saxophonist Luc Houtkamp and London’s Steve Beresford, who plays piano and electronics. Recorded more than a year earlier in Köln, Frames & Terrains features Germans, bassist Dieter Manderscheid and pianist Achim Kaufmann as well as now Berlin-based tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Tobias Delius.

A meeting of equals, Houtkamp, Beresford and Blume are most expressive on the jokingly titled, nearly 35-minute “Ambiguous & Incomprehensible” and a short encore. With oscillated wave forms juddering distantly, the three’s instrumental contradictions take the form of rim-shot clattering and drum top squeaks, clinking keyboard chords and a cornucopia of stuttering cries and flutter tongued plastic whistle-like peeps from Houtkamp. A known disrupter, the pianist livens up the show mid-way through by throwing some pseudo rock’n’roll phrasing into the mix. This gesture soon escalates to hands flapping all over the keyboard, while picking out a Blues-Rock melody to burlesque the pianist’s inner Jerry Lee Lewis at the same time. With the sequences now undulating vertically as much as they move horizontally, the saxophonist’s prodigious technique upticks as well with a “Reveille”–like wrench that soon turns to sharpened growls and tongue-slapping, and that is met at every juncture by tonal role-playing from Beresford that adds a light swing feel to propulsive cadenzas. As Houtkamp’s a capella snorts and split tones are paralleled by the pianist seemingly outlaying an upside down version of “Honky Tonk”, it’s Blume’s nerve beats and bell clanking that corrals the yelping sax snarls into become measured reed breaths and overall transports the jagged challenges into a connective conclusion.

Segmented into two tracks of almost equal length and with the addition of a bassist, the quartet disc has the same sort of interactive feeling among the players, but is angled in a unique manner. Besides the characteristic pulses and place markings from Blume, Manderscheid’s aggressive but moderated thumps become progressively more important and noticeable as the concert progresses. With the pianist and saxophonist confident enough to express themselves in lengthening phraseology, it’s the bassist and drummer who keep the tracks rhythmically solid enough so that the descriptive narratives have an underpinning on which to unroll.

With his experience in ensembles ranging from the ICP Orchestra to freewheeling combos, Delius advances the sounds with expressive gambits, alternating storytelling and squeaks. Kaufmann also bubbles the sonic stew, at points stirring in high frequency glissandi and at others using delicate vibes-like plinks. On “Frames & Terrains (Part 1)” it’s the drummer’s situated clip-clops and gong-like rumbles which set up the moderated finale, with the bassist’s swelling Arco buzzes and the saxophonist’s breathy melodiousness completing the thoughts. A completion of the first track, but more whimsical and slower paced, “Frames & Terrains (part 2)” is also more dissonant. Crushing blows and press rolls from Blume plus stream roller-like cadenzas from Kaufmann stack up against Delius’ needle-thin blurts, snorts and whistles. Here again sul ponticello creaks from Manderscheid’s strings plus affiliated sweeping pianism corral other timbres into a swelling crescendo for a final surge of collaborative polyphony.

Perhaps not the best-known European drummer, veteran Blume proves that properly located input can contribute markedly to successful improvisations. And he has plenty of equally sympathetic partners to confirm that on these discs.

—Ken Waxman

"Martin Blume has set up the band and said that he “"ikes bringing musicians together whose combination might sound fresh and new". Like Blume, Tobias Delius (saxophone, clarinet), Achim Kaufmann (piano), and Dieter Manderscheid (bass) are members of the Cologne scene (even if Delius lives mainly in Berlin). The quartet is assembled around Blume and Manderscheid, who have been playing together for a very long time, 

both being able to switch effortlessly between pulse and coloration. Especially their quartet FOURinONE with the late Johannes Bauer and Luc Houtkamp is worth to be re-discovered. Compared to Live in Prague 2017 it’s obvious that Achim Kaufmann differs from Steve Beresford as to his harmonic subtlety and his structural style. Similar to Blume, his approach is often close to new classical music, being poetical, energetic and asymmetric. Additionally, Tobias Delius - although involved in the Amsterdam scene around the ICP Orchestra - is a very different player compared to Luc Houtkamp. On the one hand, he also combines traditional swing and hard bop sounds with elements of the blues and an old school free jazz attitude. On the other hand, he does use circular breathing, key claps, multiphonics and microtones. That said, it’s clear that he can offer a bigger variety to the music of this project.

The albums starts with Delius’ saxophone chasing turned up melody fragments into the room, hectic rushes, tension, quiteness, and exuberance are present from the very first moment. Kaufmann literally builds up the frames and terrains, in which the four musicians are able to interact. It’s true that the tenor saxophone and the piano grab the ear, yet it's a four way exchange about sound and structure. After seven minutes, Kaufmann is left alone by his combatants finishing his thoughts before a bass pattern opens a new terrain for the others to join in. All of a sudden the atmosphere has changed from cheerful gaiety to a gloomy frown, typified by Delius on clarinet in a duo with Manderscheid’s arco bass. Percussion and piano creep back into the piece almost imperceptibly. In general it’s a pure pleasure to listen how the highlights ricochet within the group, to find out who leads and who’s holding back. Whenever you think that everything has fallen apart, that there’s no rhythm anymore, no melody, when all energy seems to have left the music, suddenly an inner connection emerges, a compelling rhythm is found that often invites another little melody. A perfect example of this is the ending of the album, which displays a very tenderly introduced piano trio, delicately conceived with Manderscheid in the center, gradually picking up dynamics and speed. Twitching piano runs and firm chords open a last terrain: the trio is joined by Delius’ tenor for a light-footed, jubilant conclusion. "

Martin  Schray Free Jazz Blog

"This is an exciting and well articulated freely improvised collaboration between Martin Blume on drums and percussion, Tobias Delius on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Achim Kaufmann on piano and Dieter Manderscheid on bass. The album was recorded in June on 2016 in Cologne, Germany and begins with "Frames and Terrains Part 1" which opens with a probing collective improvisation amongst the players, with deeply earthy saxophone following shimmering piano which prances and pounces as the intensity of the performance grows. The solo section for keyboard is stellar, with lush chords and sparkling notes, sending the bass and drums scurrying back in, followed by the saxophone. There is a portion of eerie bowed bass and subtle saxophone, leading to a level of abstraction that interweaves interesting percussion, spacious smears and growls, picking up the pace and adding complexity before dropping back and using dynamic control also adding a lonely bowed bass solo that is laced with haunted beauty. Rending tenor saxophone and fluttering percussion open "Frames and Terrains Part 2," then adding piano chords and elastic bass to achieve a full quartet improvisation. Raw saxophone and dark piano evoke dark storms on the horizons, and the rippling piano speeds up and all of the instruments bob to the surface in the course of an enticing free for all. Ratcheting down to near silence, the group explores the nature of sound in open space, with feathery percussion, stretching bass and curls of clarinet. Spare droplets of piano notes grow in size and shape as the the band's improvisation shape shifts once again, moving into a rapid and exciting piano, bass and drums trio section, of all out improvisation, soon joined by the saxophone, keeping the urgent pace and clarifying the nature of the music. The full band purrs along nicely playing a fast collective improvisation at a moderate volume to an impressive conclusion"