Cuneiform: Schnellertollermeier – Rights / Dieses Wochenende für Five

Clarity. Attitude. Skill. These really aren’t qualities that define our present time. All too often, our ephemeral reality finds itself reflected in a jittery retro-music that sucks its data from the Cloud – that atomised archive accessible to all. 

 Schnellertollermeier’s fourth album is their reply to all this: Rights, and it offers ample demonstration of their own clarity and ability. Rights comprises four pieces, every one of them inscribed with radicalism. Each is built on just a few ideas and develops out of them until it sounds like a Cubist work of art that seems to gaze out from the most varied of perspectives, but always in the same direction. This is the key to the immense depth and beauty of this album. Apart from the fact that it simply blows you away.

Schnellertollermeier still has its original line-up: Andi Schnellmann (bass), Manuel Troller (guitar) and David Meier (drums). These three musicians attended jazz schools in Switzerland and Scandinavia and have been working together as a band for more than ten years. And although they today live in different towns in Switzerland, their collaboration is even more intense than in their early years. After Holz (2008) and Zorn einen ehmer üttert stem!! (2010) it was above all their third album, X (2015), their first release on Cuneiform, that took the band onto a different level, both in compositional and career terms. Whereas Schnellertollermeier had until then played some 20 concerts per year, today it’s 40. X was named one of the 12 most important records of the year by the Wall Street Journal, and the trio went on tour in the USA, Great Britain, Russia and the rest of Europe.

You could say that Rights is the result of this process of consolidation. Schnellertollermeier has an immense presence – that’s the first thing you notice. Initially, you only hear concise, repetitive patterns, but you can already feel their powerful energy while performing, their will to play out and not to yield to any ceremonial, reductionist modes. The pressure is high, their concentration levels too, and their energy levels aren’t a sudden spasm but a prerequisite. This music is complex, but never so much so that the band couldn’t play it with something in reserve. That keeps their music open and free – for themselves, and also for those who hear it. Schnellertollermeier is never brash. They regulate the intensity of their sound with the highly controlled nuances of a precision engineer handling thumbscrews. They never discharge an impertinent punch – instead it’s outstretched, held out, and offered up.

This new album was made in 2016 during the band’s residency at the cultural centre “Südpol” in Lucerne. Schnellertollermeier composed and rehearsed in the different rooms of the house, and presented their interim results in a series of concerts. They sketched out their material, adapted it, took it apart, and blew it up. This was an intentional dissolution of all boundaries for purposes of concentration. The stress test of playing these pieces live helped to make them better: not because Schnellmann, Troller and Meier paid particular attention to what people said after their performances, but because they themselves noticed on stage where the new tracks felt good and where they didn’t. Thus the four pieces on Rights developed over five months and eight concerts before they were all recorded on the spot. Two or three finished tracks were dropped; what remained was “Rights”, the title piece, “Piccadilly Sources”, “Praise/Eleven” and “Round” – four pieces ranging in length between 6 minutes 58 seconds, and 13 minutes 20 seconds.

released October 6, 2017

Andi Schnellmann – bass
Manuel Troller – guitar
David Meier – drums

Rights was recorded in July 2016 at Südpol Lucerne
Engineered and recorded by Alan Benz
Mixed by Manuel Egger and Schnellertollermeier at Suburban Sound Studio, Winterthur
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound NYC
Cover design by Camillo Paravicini | Published by Cuneiform Records 2017 | Produced by Schnellertollermeier

All music and arrangements by Schnellertollermeier
Rights by Manuel Troller
Piccadilly Sources and Praise / Eleven by Andi Schnellmann, Manuel Troller, David Meier
Round by David Meier

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