Emanem 4075 Lines in Australia

Jim Denley, flutes, alto saxophone; Axel Dörner, trumpet; Philipp Wachsmann, violin, electronics; Marcio Mattos, cello, electronics; Martin Blume, percussion

1. In the back of the real (04.43)
2. Bo-tree (12.21)
3. Outlines (08.16)
4. Buoyancy (04.25)
5. Effusion (04.41)
6. Short cut 1 (03.22)
7. Zick-zack (03.31)
8. Short cut 2 (01.29)
9. Short cut 3 (02.32)
10. Short cut 4 (02.14)
11. Recreation of syntax (09.44)
12. Tangents (01.02)

Recorded at Ultimo ABC Studio 227 Sydney on 12 February 2000.
Front cover photograph (reproduced above) of Australian tree lines by Jim Denley.
reviews: “Lines in Australia”

"What does matter is the fact that this album contains some of the finest free improv around. The five musicians are obviously at ease with each other. The session progresses at a comfortable pace. A conscious effort is made to keep things from getting too heated, but it doesn't turn into a restrictive rule. Lowercase or 'Berlin reductionism' this is not. The group explores a wide range of dynamics and sounds. Wachsmann and Mattos keep the electronics very subtle, preferring to engage the group more like a standard string section. Blume's creativity knows no boundaries and a single hit on a metal bowl (or is it the bell of a cymbal?) turns Bush Onion Story around. Denley¹s flute flutters by, evoking the strange birds of the Australian outback. On par with the best moments of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Chris Burn's Ensemble, Lines have produced a keeper: challenging, pertinent, and rewarding."

"They recorded this excellent, highly skilled record during a session in Sydney, in 2000. What I like best about this group is the continuous shifting among instrumental characters: part of the material sounds like it was composed and carefully orchestrated - but it's not so - and while you're enjoying that fullness, you are suddenly thrown into small conglomerates of linking electronics, anarchic percussive sounds and brash melodic ideas that never let you catch their beginning or their end. When all is said and done, this CD flows like pure water, never tiring your ears and leaving you asking for more when it's over."

"The group works in a space that calls for accumulations and densities of small sounds, explosions, contractions, and myriad levels of interaction. Perhaps the group's significance in the contemporary improvised music scene is its balance at the edge of two rather different approaches to free improvisation, the 'laminal' (often employed here by Axel Dorner's grinding, droning meta-trumpet, for example) and the 'atomistic' (the strings' and percussion's scattering 'insect' sounds); in either case, the idea is to create a largeness of smallnesses, and Lines give us this largeness with verve. Quite hard to top their outstanding mid-'90s recordings, released eponymously on Random Acoustics, but the energy here is consistent and refreshingly subtle and light, and the invention flows freely - the group's growl, whisper, shout, turn-on-a-dime bravura is overflowing. The design and development of these pieces makes them sound almost composed. It's a beautiful balance of hesitancy, trajectory, and play. An essential Emanem release, and highly recommended."

"Denley plays wispy flute as well as alto; the wonderfully subtle string players tactfully splice in electronics; Blume listens with intensity and punctuates decisively; Dörner conjures dream sounds from his instrument and places them perfectly. IN AUSTRALIA documents an extremely rare evening where the level of interaction earns the right to use that overused improv adjective, 'organic'."

"This is great spontaneous music!! It is great to see the interaction between these musicians, specially I liked the way Mattos creates sounds with his cello while Blume makes some noises and sounds with his percussion. The good thing here is that this musicians play a lot with sounds and silences, so there are parts where all instruments remain in silence while one plays a phrase and then let the other instruments play and breathe."

"It's one of the quieter pieces of improv you're likely to hear, though the music is often very active, and shows that 'quiet' doesn't have to mean 'lacking in intensity'. The opening title track launches into the more industrial end of free improv, and subsequent tracks feature whistles, toneless blowings, patterings, scurryings, scratches and scrapings placed in cunningly inventive and emphatic juxtapositions. The final and longest track, Ghost Gum, does often raise the dynamic level, with sounds drawn out and twisted to dramatic effect. This is a thoroughly engrossing product of the Emanem renaissance, packed with incident and beguiling sonorities."

"For the most part these improvisations combine sounds which are highly organic with those that are electronic, spectral noises generated by Mattos and Wachsmann. This group seems, indeed, to specialise in contrast, not only the organic/electronic one but in their ability to conjure up a sense of both vastness and intimacy. On the tracks where Denley playes flute - especially Marks on Sand -he emerges as the key, hissing like desert wind or intoning like a dropped object in an abandoned cathedral. Blume plays quite unexpectedly, accenting loudly in delicate passages or laying out entirely in the most heated moments. Mattos and Wachsmann scrabble about like twigs, and alternately generate noises that sound like laboured breathing run through a wah-wah pedal. Dörner is at his most experimental here, using his arsenal of techniques, mutes, and so on to generate the most abstract noises one could imagine coming from a trumpet. These improvisations could collectively almost be a travelogue through some imagined musical landscape, so evocative of place are they."

"Delivering an abundance of metallic, electric and pneumatic impulses, the disc at once cries Ligeti while whispering a fragile embroidery of familiar, yet foreign, short-duration sounds. Trumpeter Axel Dörner is both at the fore and quietly underneath these evolutions, while catalyst Phil Wachsmann provides rich texture both with bits and rosin - a side of the ring shared by cellist Marcio Mattos. The group fully exploits the subtle liberties of improvised music, whether exploring the effects of a drone or filling pockets with electronic anti-space. While it is hard to find a foothold at any one point in the programme, the music thrives, developing its own character, simultaneously defiant and quietly companionable in its own spontaneous pursuits. IN AUSTRALIA flourishes as these electro-acoustic musicians press to the forefront of creative music, redefining free improv."

„Martin Blume, Jim Denley, Axel Dorner, Marcio Mattos e Phil Wachsmann juntos? Nada de mais natural, é o que concluímos ao tomarmos conhecimento da formação que compõe o grupo Lines. De facto, há qualquer coisa de comum a estes cinco instrumentistas: uma mesma flexibilidade conceptual e prática da música e um entendimento muito semelhante da prática da improvisação como (possível) entrada em território desconhecido. Isso foi verdade no álbum homónimo saído na Random Acoustics, no qual encontramos uma música toda ela alicerçada no detalhe, nas texturas e no trabalho tímbrico, mas, estranhamente, é-o muito menos neste registo gravado na Austrália, em que usam e abusam de soluções mais seguras e consagradas, aproximando-se mesmo da linguagem-tipo do “idioma” música improvisada. O que é curioso, sobretudo ao lermos um dos textos que acompanham esta edição, assinado por Wachsmann, em que este violinista fala da “deslocalização” sentida em terras australianas. Terá funcionado a ancoragem musical do colectivo como uma compensação do efeito de não-pertença, de alheamento (o único australiano, ainda que residente na Grã-Bretanha, é Denley)? É provável, mas fica a garantia: mesmo assim, o que nos oferecem é excelente música.” Rui Eduardo Paes