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A large orchestra of improvisers brought together by composer and tuba player Carl Ludwig Hubsch for the 2008 Berlin Explorations festival, peforming works focusing on tone and color from the smallest to the largest sound.

Hubsch, Carl Ludwig
Ensemble X

Hubsch, Carl Ludwig: Ensemble X (Red Toucan)
Label: Red Toucan    
Released in: Canada    

"When I was asked to propose a large improvising group for the opening concert of the 2008 Little Bangs improvisation symposium in Basel, I suggested putting together an entirely new group. So far, my experiences with bigger groups had always left me somewhat dissatisfied; namely because the bigger the group was, the more similar the music was to that of any other big group, where the music is, more often than not, dominated by the louder instruments and by the initiatives to break away.

The will to shape, within a large group, tends to lead to a rather unclear music with medium density and pretty regular changes initiated by the most impatient musician. The longer a sound colour or duration lasts, the stronger the wish to contrast or modify it; as soon as one plays a counter colour or changes the duration, others tend to either join in or make a move of their own, frequently overriding previous decisions. The risk of aimlessly wandering music therefore grows with the size of a group.

So, I hoped to avoid these obstacles by selecting musicians I had played with before and with whose experience within larger groups I was familiar; I chose them for their interest in rather delicate, noise-oriented musicality, and their ability to listen to the smallest details (even in seemingly chaotic contexts), to both initiate and go along with any musical development.

The musicians of the Ensemble X are part of the Swiss, French and German scenes, even a bit of New York's. More importantly its musicians have gained their big ensemble experience in groups such as Ensemble 2INCQ, NRW Improvisors Pool, ensemble]h[iatus, Fineworks, Multiple Joy[ce] Orchestra, Bull's Eye Ensemble, Ensemble H, Markus Eichenberger`s Domino, etc.

As for the name of this group, its X stands for the Xth big ensemble, while symbolizing an ensemble of nameless musicians, of non-soloists who dissolve into a big group the personal voice they developed over the years.

After our first meeting as a group in December 2008, I was impressed by how well and how respectfully the musicians worked together. There seemed to be no need to put forth any personal claim, so we could immediately start working on our collective music. Response to the smallest sounds, orchestrated colours, symbiotic complement of the musicians' personal and instrumental characters, and music evolving from within: that´s how I would characterize the ideals we try to incorporate in Ensemble X. When each instrument is a key on the metainstrumental keyboard that is Ensemble X, each musician is a part of the metaimprovisor's brain.

I see each of these musicians as an "active centre in a network of inexhaustible relationships" (Umberto Eco) where it is totally satisfying to only be the trigger of a movement or, better still, a part of a movement, where the ability to exercise full freedom to develop the music is interweaved with full trust to give oneself up in the ensemble music. And this may be how Ensemble X distinguishes itself from a typical jazz orchestra: You don't need to play a solo in this group; the group being the soloist, you are an integral part of its solo.

I am thankful for all the input, the sharing and the work these musicians have given to Ensemble X."-Carl Ludwig Hubsch

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
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NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
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Objects and Home-made Instruments

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Product Information:

UPC: 777078919199

Label: Red Toucan
Catalog ID: RT 9344
Squidco Product Code: 16398

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: Canada
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded on December 11th, 2008 at the Institut Francais, Berlin by Carl Ludwig Hubsch and Micha Rabuske.


Carl Ludwig Hubsch-tuba, ensemble initiator, catalyst

Martine Alterburger-violoncello

Tiziana Bertoncini-violin

Uli Bottcher-electronic

Xavier Charles-clarinet

Markus Eichenberger-clarinets

Nicholas Desmarchelier-guitar

Harald Kimmig-violin

Dirk Marwedel-extended saxophone

Matthias Muche-trombone

Nils Ostendorf-trumpet

Ulrich Phillipp-double bass

Christoph Schiller-spinet

Angelika Sheridan-flutes

Olivier Toulemonde-objects

Michael Vorfeld-percussion

Nate Wooley-trumpet

Eiko Yamada-recorders

Philip Zoubek-piano

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Track Listing:

1. X113 17:04

2. X8 20:03

3. X112 16:03

4. X111 13:10