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Koch, Hans / Paul Lovens: Nephlokokkygia 1992 (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

1992 live performances demonstrating masterful freedom in improvisation, recorded while on their first tour as a duo after working together in larger ensembles, from Hans Koch on clarinet, bass clarinet and tenor & soprano saxophones, and Paul Lovens on drums, cymbals, gongs & musical saw, in four live improvisations from Bulgaria presented in the order recorded.

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product information:

UPC: 752156103325

Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1033
Squidco Product Code: 30179

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: Austria
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded on tour in Bulgaria, in 1992.


Hans Koch-clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophones

Paul Lovens-drumset, cymbals, gongs, musical saw

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Artist Biographies:

"Hans Koch plays bass clarinet and soprano saxophone. He has played alongside of musicians such as Cecil Taylor, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Paul Lovens, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips, Phil Minton, Peter Kowald, Hans Reichel, Tom Cora, Jim O'Rourke, Fennesz, Elliott Sharp, Anthony Coleman, DJ M. Singe, Voicecrack, Günter Müller, Jean-Marc Montera, and Joëlle Léandre in Europe, America, and Asia-and still managed to maintain his association with the Koch-Schütz-Studer Trio. He has put out compact discs on various labels." (Dame, Ambiances Magnetiques) (

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"Born in Aachen, Germany, 6 June 1949; Drums, percussion, musical saw, etc.

Paul Lovens played the drums as a child. Self-taught, from the age of 14 he played in groups of various jazz styles and popular musics and from 1969 has worked almost exclusively as an improvisor on individually selected instruments. He has worked internationally with most of the leading musicians in free jazz and free improvisation, among whom have included the Globe Unity Orchestra, the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Schlippenbach trio, Quintet Moderne, Company, and a duo with Paul Lytton. He has undertaken concert tours in more than 40 countries, is a founder member of a musician's cooperative and has produced recordings for his own label, Po Torch Records since 1976. He has worked with painter Herbert Bardenheuer. Despite very rare solo performances, and although giving occasional concerts with ad-hoc groups and an involvement in projects with film, dance and actors, Paul Lovens' main interest and work is musical improvisation in fixed small groups. In the mid-1990s these small groups numbered around 16, of which a few were part of a special selection, called 'vermögen'.

Paul Lovens somehow epitomises the free drummer/percussionist who is not there to lay down the beat and kick everyone else into action but to listen, colour, contribute, guide, and occasionally direct, the overall cooperative sound. In concert one cannot fail to be moved by his intensity and concentration and there is an overiding feeling that even the most random events are somehow planned in time. In this respect, there is a nice irony that on the Nothing to read CD with Mats Gustafsson, Lovens describes his kit as consisting of 'selected and unselected drums and cymbals'. Miking seems to be a problem at times with some recordings giving him undue prominence and others insufficient. Good recordings are Elf bagatellen, Nothing to read, Pakistani pomade, and ,stranger than love."

-European Free Improv (

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track listing:

1. In Sofia 10:38

2. In Warna 14:53

3. In Russe 7:42

4. In Plovdiv 7:34
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also."-Igor Stravinsky

"To be free. What does that actually mean? TNot in a social or even political sense. But as a human being? As a musician? When we speak of free improvised music, freedom is the mother of all things. And that in a literal sense. You free yourself from yourself. As human beings, we always act with the sum of what we have collected, stored and reflected in all the years before. An improviser does not have to apply his knowledge and skills intellectually, but instinctively. So, that things do not emerge by necessity or intention. They simply happen.

Paul Lovens and Hans Koch are both masters when it comes to such development processes. Especially the duo formation challenges self-liberation like no other constellation. In a solo setting, instinct is confronted too much by the intellect and there is no counterpart to help when the struggle between holding and letting go seems to be lost. And in a larger formation? In challenging moments, silence becomes a tempting alternative. This does not work in a duo. Every tone, every sound, every noise demands a response. And the sum of the sounds again demands answers. Or counter-questions. Or provocations. In a duo, the tones are released, set free, and the originators orient themselves to the developing sound architecture. In the best case, the sound takes control of the narrative and the musicians become suppliers...and are amazed themselves by the dancing molecules that begin to map the space in constantly changing constellations.

This process is always also a departure. The musician leaves the place he was in before the very first note. From this point of view, it is not surprising that Koch and Lovens chose as title for this record "CloudCuckooLand", named after the place that Aristophanes describes in his play "The Birds". It is the name for a world that people can only dream of. Only those who are able to fly can reach this vanishing point. This place where bureaucracy, mistrust and envy have no place anymore. If we stay with Aristophanes, then Lovens and Koch are Pisthetaerus and Euelpides, the two main protagonists of "The Birds". Two men who transform themselves into birds and thus fulfill their dream of flying.

Lovens and Koch knew each other briefly from larger formations, but these recordings from a tour through Eastern Europe in 1992 show the two of them as a duo for the first time. It is their second joint release. In 2010, a live recording from Rome in a trio formation with singer Sabina Meyer was released under the title "Mood Swing 3".

The order of the four tracks of the present album corresponds to the chronology of their recording date. Their titles only refer to the respective departure point of their flights, their endeavour to find the place of fulfilment, to approach it from a different perspective, to reformulate it, to create it. At the beginning of "In Sofia", the first piece, one can still sense the inner struggle to which the two protagonists are subjected. Both defy gravity, which tries to keep them on the ground. Slowly but surely a first flight altitude sets in and the musicians gently abandon their function as pilots, begin to ignore the flight instruments in the cockpit and subsequently begin the state of free floating. The following three pieces are each based on the experience of the previous ones and underline the steadily growing flying skills that the duo has acquired over time. The result of this self-liberation leads to a dialogue between two poets who, with their pas de deux, cause the molecules to vibrate in a way that even listeners willing to travel are freed from any fear of flying and inevitably become partners in crime. It is not only the seriousness and the uncommon profundity of these four dialogues, but also the palpable joy of life, paired with a humour à la Buster Keaton, which not only gives the musicians, but also us listeners, moments that the Germans call "Sekundenglück" (seconds of happiness).

"CloudCuckooLand" also documents in an impressive way that the creation of a new world is connected with confrontation and friction. It is only when two apparently different characters, who challenge each other to the utmost, are brought together that those energies are released which ultimately lead to utopian salvation. Paul Lovens and Hans Koch turn out to be a congenial team precisely because of their differences. Their love for music was triggered in both at a very young age by the discovery of the music of the British Dixieland Revival. But shortly after, both began to break away from this Big Bang and moved on in a very different way. As an autodidact, Lovens created his own richness of sound, which is still unparalleled today. Koch's path, on the other hand, went through his training as a classical musician and has since been astounding as one who tirelessly breaks standards to explore new territory. In the field of tension between form and content, they are among the guerrilla fighters who have dedicated themselves to the latter.

Pisthetaerus and Euelpides are described in Aristophanes' "The Birds" as two middle-aged men, the same age as Lovens and Koch were when these recordings were made. However, it is only thanks to their acquired wisdom that 28 years later they decided to share their very personal journey to "CloudCuckooLand" with us."-Rudolf Amstutz, November

Related Categories of Interest:

Hat Art
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
Duo Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Other Releases With These Artists:
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