Intervju med Matthias Müller
Matthias Müller. Foto: Frank Schindelbeck.
Intervju med Matthias Müller
Matthias Müller är en aktiv musiker på den experimentella scenen i Berlin. I och med nya skivan från duon Superimpose (med Christian Marien) blev Soundofmusic nyfikna på Müller och ställde några frågor.
Who is Matthias Müller?
Starting playing trombone in the local trombone choir at the age of 10. Studying Jazz Trombone at Folkwang University of Arts Essen. Living in Berlin since 2004. Mostly active in Improvised Music, but also working in the field of Contemporary Music and Theatre. I have always been interested in exploring unusual sound areas of the trombone, using all kinds of mutes and extended techniques, trying to let the trombone sound as if there are electronic generated sounds coming out of the bell. (As for some time we even said Superimpose creates “electronic music on acoustic instruments“!) Influenced by the great tenor sax players from Sonny Rollins and Albert Ayler to John Butcher and Tobias Delius, and many more of course! (Is this probably because the range of the tenor and the trombone are quite similar?)
Tell us about the duo Superimpose.
Superimpose is existing since ten years now and has played almost 100 concerts! Especially in the beginning we met almost every week to rehearse and to discover the (sonic) possibilities of the unusual instrumentation of trombone and drums. The three records we made (Superimpose on Creative Sources in 2007, Talk Talk on Leo Records in 2009, and Edinburgh on Wide Ear Records, 2015) are documenting the musical development pretty well I think: from more free jazzy to very sound orientated, from active to static! Maybe...
Three parameters that we were working on seemed always been important for us:
- sound (we worked and investigated a lot on our “band sound“ => aiming for ONE sound, as written in our bio, although knowing that that would never be 100% possible...we probably wouldn’t even be interested in letting it be 100%…? Trying to make it difficult for the listener to recognize which sound comes from which instrument)
- duration (how long does the sound/material we use work? when moving on?)
- dependency/independency (the connection between two independent voices, the disconnection between two dependent voices!!!)
So far we never aimed to play compositions in a traditional sense (notation, graphic scores…), but quite often we try to organize the pieces we play (more or less strictly), depending on the circumstances! This doesn’t mean that we are not interested in playing compositions. But so far I just like the fact that we are only improvising, especially because - in general - this becomes more and more difficult the longer you are working together. We know each other too well musically that it’s not really possible anymore to surprise each other - and actually even in the beginning we haven’t really been interested in surprise! It’s more subtle. What possibilities do you have, when the frame is pretty much set?
The sound on the new Superimpose record Edinburgh is amazing, tell us about the recording session.
What sounds amazing is the Reid Concert Hall in Edinburgh! The setup was pretty simple: two stereo mics, one trombone mic and two for the drums. But there was quite a lot of work to do with the mixing and the mastering, but I think Christian Weber did quite a good job! We played only one set. What you hear on the record is exactly what we played that night! No overdubs (of course) or cuts or anything. On the second set we played with the EdImpro Ensemble, led by Michael Edwards who was also the one who recorded the concert.
How is the experimental scene in Germany today?
About Berlin: the scene is still growing with musicians from all over the world! “Echtzeitmusik“ is not a clear description anymore (has it ever been?). In the beginning it was probably mostly defined through the people who played very much reduced improvised music. But this has changed a lot through the influences of people from different scenes like Electronica, Rock, Pop, Noise, and - of course - New Music and Jazz (e.g. in November the Splitter Orchester plays first at the Berlin Jazzfest and then at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival!). “Echtzeitmusik“ is just a name but not a definition, so it’s hard to tell how the Berlin impro sound like today. It’s probably the variety of genres which becomes more and more the definition of the scene. Does that make any sense?
What lies ahead?
Some highlights which I am very much looking forward to this fall:
- Superimpose plays a few shows early October in Germany and the Netherlands.
- The Foils Quartet (with Frank Paul Schubert on soprano sax, John Edwards on bass, and Mark Sanders on drums) will be on tour in the UK late October.
- The Astronomical Unit (a trio that Christian [Marten] and I have with Australian bassist Clayton Thomas) is going to play a few shows in November in Germany and Czech Republic.
- An amazing project with the Splitter Orchester: we invited George Lewis to work with us. He is going to compose a piece for the orchestra which will be performed in Berlin and Huddersfield.