Rüdiger Carl and Sven-Åke Johansson - CD
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cd cover Rüdiger Carl and Sven-Åke Johansson
Djungelmusik med sång (Hapna)

Swedish experimentalists Rüdiger Carl (accordion, clarinet) and Sven-Åke Johansson (accordion, drums and voice) push the limits on this 1997 recording, made live in a Stockholm bookstore. Their free-association approach to music makes this challenging for those in need of a countable beat, but the mood is elegant, bizarre or beautiful at each turn and the results are nothing short of unique.

   

“A relaxed yet highly eventful conversation between this pair of old hands from the European free music community. Shared understanding enables them to shun platitudes and leave the obvious unsaid; instead they follow confidently wherever their fancy or curiosity leads. Accordions are the primary means of exchange, with Carl doubling on clarinet and Johansson at times shifting to his drums or making arcane vocal pronouncements. As their playing has matured, the spark of concentrated idealism which drew both men into this particular musical field has spread into a self-assured glow; but the commitment to freedom remains as strongly felt as ever.” - Julian Cowley, The Wire

“Rüdiger Carl first met Sven-Åke Johansson in West Berlin in 1968. Carl played with Hans Reichel and in 1979 that duo was expanded with the addition of drummer Johansson. At the same time, Johansson recorded "Machine Gun" with The Peter Brötzmann Octet. The actual Carl-Johansson duo began only in 1984 with a European Tour, after they having founded a swing band playing in the dance-halls. At the same time, they always kept the duo alive as a channel for their intellectual survival (even if they recorded only one LP: "Funfunddreissigvierzig" in 1985). Carl changed instrument and became one of the best accordeon players in the world. So this is the second official album of Rüdiger Carl/Sven-Åke Johansson. It has been released by a new Swedish label, Häpna, and it was recorded in 1997 in Stockholm. This is music of great inspiration, with a rétro sensibility that reminds of the great sarcasm of Kurt Weill's music as it is evident especially in track n.2, when the accordeon notes substitute the fragmentary rythm of the drums. The musician's movement is the same as music and notes movement, in fact they stumble and fall on instruments. But you don't have to think that this is a joke. In "Djungelmusik med sång" there is a constant sense of tragedy (listen to tracks 4 and 5) where accordeons are looking for modern melodies that, from today, belong to a new popular North Europe music.” - Luca Pagani, All about jazz

The artists explain:
Recorded 1997 at the book and record store Andra Böcker och Skivor in Stockholm. This CD featuring two of the most innovative improvisors in Europe is the first released recording of the duo since 1985. Carl and Johansson’s music isn’t tied to any genre, but instead flows freely over both known and unknown territories, in its own unique way. Sound-wise, the CD has a special focus: every track on “Djungelmusik med sång” features at least one accordion, an element that holds the diverse material together.

Rüdiger Carl (November 2000), on the history of the duo:
“I first met Sven in 1966 or so in (West) Berlin, where I was living that time, and where he had just moved to. We started playing together in various combinations in clubs and at different events in town, and I remember doing our first duo-gig in a museum-art-show '68 there. That was also the times for hanging out together, party and having balls and fun, and enjoy the endless Berlin-nights.”

“In 1970 I left Berlin for Wuppertal, met the free-music-guys there, and got together with guitarist Hans Reichel (duo Buben). 1979 I joined a trio with Sven, Hans and Ludwig Petrowski, famous sax/clarinet-player from East Germany, and we built the meanwhile high historical Bergisch Brandenburgisches Quartett. After 3-4 years this forerunning ensemble came to an end, and Sven and me were thinking of how to continue after this high-fly time, including various tours (also a two-week US East Coast tour) and concerts. Then we did two very different decisions, after trying out some possibilities: we started to keep on our musical ideas as a duo, that seemed to be stronger than any other mixes that we had checked, and second we built the Swing Dance Band called Night and Day, playing some selected material of the forties as an acoustic band, for dancers in ballrooms, lovers in nightbars, and freaked-out artists on their parties. I played tenor that time and later also a bit of clarinet, Alexander von Schlippenbach did piano, Jay Oliver played the bass, and Sven was swinging on brushes and sticks. This went on for twelve years.”

“So you can say the duo started in 1984, and has been on the road in Europe since then. We did various recordings, live-broadcasts etc., but never released any of them. So indeed, the FMP-LP from 1985 is the last issued recording of the duo.”

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