Mon Feb. 5, 2024

espresso & mud – ein (virtuelles) Kontrabassduo im Spannungsfeld von Improvisation und Komposition

Nina Polaschegg: bass
Bruno Strobl: electronics

A musicologist and music journalist who not only devotes herself to writing about the music of (free) improvisation, but is also active as a double bass player, and a composer whose electronic compositions have a lot in common with the sonority and textures of some free improvisation and experimental music. We have been working together as an improvisation duo since 2012. In addition to the pure bowed and plucked bass sound, Nina Polaschegg uses numerous preparations in her playing to rethink the instrument and develop colorful nuances of sound. Bruno Strobl works with samples of various origins - some were created as part of his compositional work, many are double bass sounds recorded by Nina Polaschegg using close microphones. Purely played samples are juxtaposed with heavily electronically altered ones, thus forming an equivalent to the multi-dimensional sound of the double bass. The third element is always the room. We specifically incorporate its architecture, its acoustics, its atmosphere.

Our work is characterized by free play and structured thinking. Sometimes we develop strict, sometimes loose concepts, which we fulfill more or less exactly in concert or deviate from, depending on the situation - planned or spontaneously in the here & now during the course of the performance. Then again we play freely, without any guidelines, as a duo or with guests. As with any well-rehearsed improvisation formation, the interactions, timbres, textures, etc. that have been worked out, tested and improvised are implicit guidelines that can be used in a targeted way or can consciously serve as areas of friction.
In general, we like to adapt to the respective situations in our preliminary planning: space, architecture, audience, organizers (what else is taking place there?). It often makes sense to combine improvisation, composition and concept in a concert, to juxtapose them and let them follow on from each other, sometimes free interaction in the respective sound space is the right choice.