There comes a time when new musical directions can speak to you, in my later years I have been drawn to the more challenging aspects where having to invest time in what I am listening to reaps huge rewards. The discovery of Schnellertollermeier has met those aspirations with their experimental avant post-jazz improv approach. The band have a fearsome reputation as an exciting live band, but on the evidence contained on this album they are able to transfer that to the recorded medium. From the pulsating start of opening track 209 Aphelion, you are taken on a sonic journey that will thrill and amaze in equal measure. The precision and skill that has gone into the delivery of these songs is what makes this a most fascinating listen.
So who are Schnellertollermeier? Well this “classic” power trio hail from Switzerland and consist of Andi Schnellmann, Manuel Troller and David Meier. They released their previous albums Zorn Einen Ehmer Üttert Stem!!, X and Rights in 2010, 2015 and 2017 respectively, here they present their fourth album, oddly titled 5, recorded during January 2020 at Suburban Sound, where mixing was done by Manuel Egger with Schnellertollermeier during April. The digital and vinyl mastering was completed by Rashad Becker with artwork provided by Mathis Pfälfli.
This is a band who appear to have an almost telepathic way of playing together, each contributing just what is needed, instruments swapping roles and function, sometimes within songs, giving space for the music to breathe and expand. The themes and melodies ebb and flow as the songs shift through different intensities, creating mesmerising sonic textures that hold the listener’s attention throughout. They have used their experimental influences to great effect, at times reminiscent of the way King Crimson approach their music. I say this as a compliment, but they are their own band with their own sound, taking those influences and running with them.
The longest track, Before and After, demonstrates these influences so well; starting with an almost metronomic beat, provided initially by the bass, the other instruments start to build the textures around it, reminiscent of King Crimson’s ProjeKcts phase. The complex rhythms develop and evolve throughout the track with the pace increasing as they explore the sonic textures further. In contrast to this, A.o.E.i.n.E.o.A has a more ambient feel, but still engaging never the less.
The precision in the construction and delivery of these songs make this an album to savour. Sure, you need to invest time in the listening, but that unearths so much. Despite all the precision there is a wonderful feeling of improv running throughout the album, at times there is almost a feeling that things may fall apart, but no, all is kept under control to delivery a very fine album indeed.
01. 209 Aphelion (8:52)
02. Before and After (10:55)
03. Tectonics (2:19)
04. A.o.E.i.n.E.o.A (5:11)
05. Velvet Sun (6:00)
06. Animate Become (3:33)
07. Made of Thin (4:13)
Total Time – 41:06
Andi Schnellmann – Electric Bass, Electric Guitar (on Animate Become)
Manuel Troller – Electric Guitar
David Meier – Drums & Percussion
Record Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalogue#: Rune 482
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Date of Release: 13th November 2020