The Squid's Ear Magazine

Steamboat Switzerland (Blume / Pliakas / Niggli): Terrifying Sunset [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Contemporary German painter Albert Oehlen invited Steamboat Switzerland — Lucas Niggli on drums; Marino Pliakas on electric bass; Dominik Blum on drums& voice — to create music for his solo exhibition Tramonto Spaventoso at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, these extended compositions that connect to Oehlen's work the result, from dark ea-improv to hardcore Hammond free jazz.

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product information:

UPC: 9120036683433

Label: Trost Records
Catalog ID: TROST 216LP
Squidco Product Code: 31599

Format: LP
Condition: Sale (New)
Released: 2022
Country: Austria
Packaging: LP
Recorded live at Photobastei Club, in Zurich, Switzerland, on September 22nd to 26th, 2020, by Giuliano Sulzberger.


Lucas Niggli-drums

Marino Pliakas-electric bass

Dominik Blum-Hammond Organ, voice

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"I remember seeing Caspar Brötzmann , Michael Wertmüller and Marino Pliakas at the A'larme Festival in 2012. If my memory is accurate, they were the final act of the night and had a rocky start, as the equipment was not set to their desired volume. Once they got started and pummeled out their first notes, I was grinning, or gritting my teeth in excruciating ecstasy, or just staring dumbly ahead until I regained my composure. By the end of their set, they had cleaned the room like I had never seen before. I exaggerate slightly, as I was not the only person who attended that night to see them and a previous set by Peter Brötzmann, Caspar's father and bandmate of Wertmüller and Pliakas in Full Blast, and Keiji Haino and I was not the only one who persevered. Still, they had cut attendance by about half by the end.

Since then, I have picked up much of what Pliakas produced with the Brötzmänner but have rarely heard him in other settings. In Steamboat Switzerland, Pliakas (on e-bass) is joined by the Swiss rhythm section of Lucas Niggli on drums and Dominik Blum on Hammond organ and voice.

The result is Terrifying Sunset. It was recorded live at Photobastei Club Zurich/Switzerland in September 2020. It is loud and it is raw. It is metal. (Just listen to the opening shriek at the beginning of the second and final track Tiger=East=Face.) Or, maybe it is metallic-tinged racket. Or cosmic doom fusion. Whatever it is, it veers into heavy noise landscaping that Pliakas has spent years cultivating. Niggli is a perfect companion, splitting the air with crashes and matching in intensity Pliakas' heavy thrums when necessary and playing sparsely when they wander into the tempestuous eye. Blum is wildman on Hammond, with a penchant for the spacier realm of Krautrock as well as its heavy Neubauten manifestations. I cannot say I am still so dumbfounded by this most intense and grating corner of the free music world as I was a decade ago. And, for what it is worth, Steamboat Switzerland dip in and out of its ear-bleed extremities, focusing on swells and layered nuances in some spaces and massive prog blasts in others. Still, every once in a while, someone from this corner hits the right notes and the right dynamics and rides the resulting wave until it crumbles dramatically on shore. Someone balances that shock value with a surprising musicality and vision that creates a perfect storm. Excuse the mixed meteorological metaphor, but Terrifying Sunset is that storm."-Nick Ostrum, The Free Jazz Collective

Get additional information at The Free Jazz Collective

Artist Biographies

"Lucas Niggli was born in a thunderbolt in 1968, West Kamerun. He lived there before he moved to Switzerland. Today he lives in Uster with his three children, Felix, Gaudenz and Emilia and his partner Annette Meier.

IntroHis affinity to Music, especially to percussion instruments, was quite strong at a very young age. Between 1987 and 1995, he played at the experimental New Jazz formation "Kieloor Entartet". The group published three CDs, conquered many stages in diverse countries, formed a not every day orchestra, "ENAO91 and ENAO93", and connected to other artists and composers. After that, Lucas Niggli took charge of the management of the alternative Swiss label "UNIT-Records" until 1998; he was the president of the Swiss Professional Association of Jazz and Improvisation Musicians, SMS, and a long member of the board of the WIM (werkstatt für improvisierte Musik Zurich).

Working Bands

In 1995 he founded the avant-core band "Steamboat Switzerland" with Dominik Blum and Marino Pliakas. More than 150 concerts, 4 cd and 2 vinyl recordings testify to the group's intense and hard work. "Lucas Niggli's Zoom" was founded in 1999 (with Nils Wogram And Philipp Schaufelberger) They performed at all of Europe's big festivals, (Moers, Saalfelden, Willisau, Le Mans) as well n Vancouver and they recorded a first cd in 2001 followed by a CD in 2003. As an extension of this trio, Lucas Niggli created "Big Zoom", a quintet with Claudio Puntin and Peter Herbert as guests, with two releases (Big Ball, Sweat). Since 2002 he plays regularly in the Piano Trio with Jacques Demierre and Barry Guy. Since 1994 Lucas Niggli has played in a variety of different bands with Pierre Favre as his partner. These are, amongst others, "Singing Drums", "European Chamber Ensemble", "The Drummers", as well as a duo.Since 2006 he is composing for and performing with the international Drum Quartet Beat Bag Bohemia (with Kesivan Naidoo (SA), RolandoLamussene (MZ), and Peter Conradin Zumthor (CH). The Duo Black Lotos with chinese Guzheng Player Xu Fengxia is also a long lasting working band, like the Drum Duo Lucas Niggli and Peter Conradin Zumthor. Since 2011 the Trio Biondini - Godard - Niggli with Luciano Biondini and Michel Godard tours extensivly in Europe with two CD Productions for Intakt Records. Since 2013 regulary also in Projects with the Drum Trio Klick with Fritz Hauser and P.C.Zumthor and in a Duo with Swiss Singer Andreas Schaerer.

Other World

Lucas Niggli was always musically active. He toured through all of Europe with different musicians, played on stages in Russia and America, Egypt and Canada, China and Southafria, Taiwan and m.o. He performed on major Jazz festivals in Vancouver, Berlin, Moers, Saalfelden, Willisau, Rome, Nürnberg, Capetown, Le Mans, Münster and Zurich. And New Music Festivals like Huddersfield (UK), Donaueschingen ( D) , Ultima (N), MaerzMusik (D). He is always being tempted into different corners of the music business. If he doesn't perform a contemporary piece by David Dramm, Michael Werthmüller, Felix Profos, Sam Hayden, Kagel, Polanski, Cage, or Rzewski; he will regularly improvise in the Zurich "Werkstatt für Improvisierte Musik." And he plaied in several Bands from Swiss Singer Erika Stucky, like "Bubble and Bangs".

In Best Memories

In his bands and projects, Lucas Niggli had the chance to work hand in hand with musicians from all over the world, from all kinds of different scenes. People like Barry Guy, John Cale, Pierre Favre, Butch Morris, Trevor Watts, Fred Frith, Hans Koch, Peter Kowald, Peter Waters, Samul Nori, Tom Cora, Ikue Mori, Tenko, Michel Doneda, Michel Wintsch, Collegium Novum, Urs Leimgruber, Arkadij Shilklopper, Jean-Luis Matinier, Martin Schütz, Irene Schweizer, Susanne Abbuehl, Wu Wei, Phil Minton, the filmmaker Peter Mettler , Susanne Abbuehl, Erika Stucky, ARTE Quartet, Andrew Cyrille, Andreas Schaerer, Tim Berne and many more."

-Lucas Niggli Website (

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"Marino Pliakas (born November 1, 1964 in Trogen, Appenzell Outer Rhodes) is a Greek-Swiss musician (guitar, electric bass) and lecturer at the Zurich University of

From 1984 to 1988 Pliakas studied classical guitar at the Zurich Conservatory (Instrumental Teaching Diploma) and History, Musicology and Russian Studies at the Universities of Zurich and St. Petersburg. In 1995 he founded with Dominik Blum and Lucas Niggli, the still existing " Hammond -Avantcore trio" Steamboat Switzerland. He also plays in the trio Full Blast with Peter Brötzmann and Michael Wertmüller. He was also active in the improvisation quartet Die Firma and with Stephan Wittwer (in duo and trio with Michael Wertmüller).

He has also appeared with Caspar Brötzmann, John Cale, Nels Cline, Holger Czukay, Jacques Demierre, Robert Dick, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Steve Noble, Norbert Möslang, Jim O'Rourke, Ken Vandermark, Trevor Watts and Kenny Wollesen. He has performed in many European countries, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Israel, China, Japan, North America and Brazil. From 1998 to 2003 he was President of the Zurich section of the International Society for Contemporary Music, In 2019 he plays with Dominik Blum and Lucas Niggli in the trio Steamboat Switzerland."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) (

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"Dominik Blum - pianist, keyboarder, conductor. Concert graduate SMPV at Urs Peter Schneider in Bern. Concerts and radio records as panist and conductor (solo, chamber music, chamber operas). Classical repertoire and contemporary works by famous international and swiss composers, new discoveries like Sam Hayden, David Dramm, Werner M. Grimmel, Martin Imholz, Olga Diener a.o. Rock music from early childhood on. Long experiences with analog electronics. Free music and interdisciplinary projects in several groups: Since 1995 with Steamboat Switzerland. Since 2001 duo worl with the saxophone player Raphael Camenisch, since 2003 with the pianist Tamriko Kordzaia. Since 2005 new border experiences with the improvising noise metal trio AZEOTROP. 2000 first release of solo piano works by the swiss avantgarde composer Hermann Meier. Tours in Europe, China, Russia, USA, Canada, Southern America. Composer of open musicayl concepts (music one, two, three, etc). Teaches piano. 1998 cultural price of the city of Winterthur, 2001 price of cultural foundation Winterthur. Lives there with his his wife, the music teacher Sabina von Werra (vonwerranachblum) and their two kids Xenia and Seraphim."

-Dominik Blum Website (

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Track Listing:


1. Chimborazo=South=Face 22:00


1. Tiger=East=Face 23:40

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