Fri Sept. 15, 2017

radio.string.quartet 'In Between Silence' (A/TW/NL)

Bernie Mallinger: violin, vocals
Igmar Jenner: violin
Cynthia Liao: viola
Sophie Abraham: cello, vocals

Two violins, a viola, a cello and the human voice is all they need. radio.string.quartet describe their new work as some "CrossoverJazzClassicPopFusionRockNewMusicElectronic" thing. A rather intricate monstrosity of a word. For better understanding, they are also citing the names of artists who have inspired them in recent years: Nine Inch Nails, Franz Schubert, Feist, e.s.t., Arvo Pärt, Bugge Wesseltoft & Sidsel Endresen.
Since they devoted themselves to the work of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report, radio.string.quartet have gained a peerless reputation. The Viennese foursome are setting the bar high. For good reason: Wesseltoft, the Norwegian NuJazz pioneer, has co-produced their new album "In Between Silence".
"We were looking for a different perspective and found it with Bugge," says cellist Sophie Abraham. "He has an enormous stylistic range. At the same time, he is always recognizable as a personality." "In Between Silence" was recorded live in the studio and further enriched with samples and overdubs. The use of vocals widens their horizon considerably, a first for the quartet. Berlin Techno DJ Henrik Schwarz is featured on one recording; mix and mastering were in the able hands of Jazzland-Mastermind Ulf Holand (Nils Petter Molvær).
"There was a great longing for beauty and tranquility in us," violinist Bernie Mallinger says about the gentle spark that ignited songwriting for their sixth album. "In Between Silence" shows great dynamics, a fearlessness concerning the use of experiments and wondrous sounds, while preserving catchy melodies.
Two Austrians, a Taiwanese and a Dutch, in part inspired by writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal and trumpeter Jun Miyake ("The World According to Hugo and Jun"), pop songs ("Undefined journey to the inside") and Ambient structures ("Lullaby For Pauli").
The band, with Mallinger, Igmar Jenner (violin), Cynthia Liao (viola), and radio.string.quartet debutant Sophie Abraham (cello), set most personal stories to music. Mallinger, whose sons appear in two song titles, describes their art as screenplays, realized in musical images. "We had two weddings and three births within the quartet while working on the album," says Liao, who was one of the founders along with Mallinger in 2003. The calm before the beginning and the silence after the end – what happens in the interim? "In Between Silence" can be heard as the musical equivalent of the cycle of human existence.
In the words of radio.string.quartet: "We play the song of life, full of chaos, energy and beauty."