“Understated throughout, the pair fold together softly muted sounds – hissing, breathy escapes of air and their digitally transformed, equally subtle cousins from Dörner, and a masterfully restrained, widely varied palette of soft tones and brief peaking flurries from Sanders. The end result is a slow, naturally fermenting but never boiling-over landscape of beautiful, surprisingly restrained music formed with remarkable understanding.” – Richard Pinnell, The Wire
“[Dörner’s] melding of air and circuitry is even deeper and more fluid than his radical early work” – Bill Meyer, Chicage Music
“It’s an album that makes its transcendence and beauty obvious enough, but without revealing anything of why this should be so; faced with only the sounds, we have incomplete information about how it came to be, and therefore, like some mysteriously-veined marble obelisk, must accept it for what it is, towering before us. . . . a realm where causality and sound no longer have the comfortable relationship they’re used to. . . . big and noteworthy and peculiar.” – Dan Sorrells, Free Jazz
A deeply enigmatic duo of trumpet and drums augmented by live electronics and an expanded percussive array (tam-tam, multiple high hats etc.), Stonecipher is a mesmerising work that operates in the blurred regions between the electronic and acoustic.
Dörner’s electronics have never been more effective, creating viscous clouds of sound which are illuminated by Sanders’ sparse, precise formations, producing a dense fabric of insidious extended tones, gradual inclines and sudden drops, and sounds that slowly fold back into themselves or abruptly open onto unexpected plateaus.
There’s something beguilingly unhurried about the way that Stonecipher develops, but there’s a real quickness bubbling under this apparent slowness that prevents the music from ever completely solidifying: just when you think you’re on firm ground something moves and the whole landscape is reshaped.
Axel Dörner – trumpet, electronics
Mark Sanders – drums, percussion
Recorded by Rick Campion on 19 June 2011 at City University Music Studios
Mixed by Axel Dörner
Artwork by Jane Millican (detail of Scene, 2010, pencil on paper)
Music by Axel Dörner (GEMA) & Mark Sanders (PRS)