Just about everyone who listens to music will be lured into the game of genre-labelling. This is jazz. That is pop. This is rock. That is classical. This is electronic. Before you know it, you're talking in sub-genres: Illbient; Djent; Dark Jazz; Hypnagogic pop. On it goes. Viennese-based radio.string.quartet (Two Austrian, one Taiwanese and one Dutch) have conveniently offered a marvelously inconvenient word for their music: "CrossoverJazzClassicPopFusionRockNewElectronicMusic". Naturally, despite the truth it contains, this word will not catch on. Perhaps it is easier to fall back on that other critical staple, the list of influences. radio.string.quartet offer Nine Inch Nails, Franz Schubert, Feist, Arvo Pärt, Bugge Wesseltoft & Sidsel Endresen as being among their most recent referenced precursors. After all that, perhaps the labelling/influence games are best left to marketing executives and record stores. The group are their own thing, evolving and reshaping as they feel they must, and each album, and each composition on that album will have exactly the tones and textures needed. This is certainly the case with their first Jazzland Recordings release, "In Between Silence".
"In Between Silence" isn't the quartet's first conceptual excursion: they previously explored the works of Weather Report and John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra as inspirational sources, while with the album "Radiodream" they displayed an expanded musical palette with inspiration drawn from Franz Liszt, Billie Holiday and Radiohead.
For their first release on Jazzland Recordings, it is fitting that they enlisted as producer Bugge Wesseltoft, the label founder, himself no stranger to blurred margins between genres.
"We have looked for another perspective and found it with Bugge," says cellist Sophie Abraham. "He has an enormous stylistic range and is still recognizable as a personality."
"In Between Silence", was recorded live in the studio, but additionally enriched with self-created samples and overdubs. In one session the quartet even received support from the techno-pioneer Henrik Schwarz.
The use of voices widens the band's horizons considerably, a stylistic device which is now used for the first time on several pieces.
Mixing and mastering was done by Jazzland-Mastermind Ulf Holand (and producer for Nils Petter Molvær).
"We had a great longing for beauty and peace", says violinist Bernie Mallinger, describing the gentle initial spark for their sixth album.
"In Between Silence" carries a rare dynamism, fearlessly experimental and full of oblique sounds, yet still immensely harmonious and catchy. The group were also inspired by writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal and trumpeter Jun Miyake ("The World According to Hugo and Jun"), pop structures ("Undefined journey to the inside") and Ambient (" Lullaby for Pauli ")
The radio.string.quartet, with Bernie Mallinger, Ingmar Jenner (violin), Cynthia Liao (viola), and for the first time Sophie Abraham (cello), tell the most personal stories through sound. Screenplays, translated into musical images, as Mallinger describes them, whose sons Toto and Pauli appear in two song titles.
"While working on this album, there were two weddings and three births - and only within the quartet," says Liao, who was one of the founders with Mallinger in 2003.
between the rest before the beginning and the silence after the end? "In
Between Silence" explores possible answers to this question, giving us the
sound of the cycle of human existence.
The radio.string.quartet: "We play the song of life, full of chaos, energy and beauty."
Bernie Mallinger - violin, voice
Igmar Jenner - violin
Cynthia Liao - viola
Sophie Abraham - cello, voice