Stefan Thut - About [Elsewhere Music - 2018]About is a just shy of hour-long example of extremely sparse, pattern-based, but very subtle altering modern composition from German composer, improviser & Cellists Stefan Thut. This is the fifth release on up & coming American modern composition label Elsewhere Music- and itís presented as a CD in a gatefold sleeve.
Thut has been wrting his own composition since around the early 2000ís- with his works performed in Russia, the Netherlands, Japan, and Germany. Heís released works on labels such as Edition Wandelweiser, Intonema, and Moving Furniture Records- and has thus far put out around twenty full-length releases.
The piece here features six players in all- we have Ryokko Akama- electronics, Stephen Chase- Guitar, Eleanor Cully- Paino, Patrick Farmer- Metal Percussion, Lo Wie- Tingsha, and Stefan on Cello. Despite this fair collection of player, the composition is extremely pared back, sparse & reduced in its feel. The piece is built around a series of plucks, saws, twangs, and simmers- which are fed out in a decidedly spaced & controlled manner- mostly the instrumental tones are often played on their own, with the next tone appearing as the first had faded. Though at times it feels like itís going to suddenly pick up in both depth & pace- aside from a few subtle diversions itís all kept extremely pared back.
There is really no melody to talk of here, though the whole thing has a rewarding even flow to proceedings. I can imagine this must have been very hard to play- as each tone is often very compacted & controlled- through from time-to-time there are subtle flourishers of off tones. Iíll have to admit initially plays through of this left me somewhat unimpressed, due to the extremely narrow range of tones here- but I persevered, and have come to find it rewarding in itís stark & narrow unfold- with even more plays offering up new subtle details.Roger Batty