Review

Julian Sartorius & Ensemble This | Ensemble That

Rllrlrllrrlrlrlrllrlrlr

-ous • 2023

In 2016, JazzHalo asked drummer Julian Sartorius how he felt about soloing and performing as a part of an ensemble, respectively. The Swiss replied that the former was great due to the possibility of »using the whole acoustic frequency spectrum and dynamics of the kit, without getting in the way of other instruments«. Conversely, Sartorius enjoyed the »different bearing« present in collaborations, the interaction, to engage with others. Seven years later, his newest album conciliates both merits. Sartorius has launched a pure percussion album together with the four-person Ensemble This | Ensemble That. In 39 hypnotic minutes it combines fast, repetitive beats with complex rhythms. Its sonic anchor consists of four drum sets. Yet, Sartorius not only makes use of different percussive gadgets like the triangle. Pots, pans, and blankets are part of the soundscape as well. Diversity makes »Rllrlrllrrlrlrlrllrlrlr« evocative. Not unlike its onomatopoeic title, it moves between abstraction and expression. Its sound design is crisp and dry. Compared to a sumptuous live performance in one of Luzern’s indoor aquatic centers, the studio version sacrifices punch for clarity. »Rllrlrllrrlrlrlrllrlrlr« is much better suited to a nocturnal headphone session than to a rave. It centers around the dynamics and frequency spectra of rhythmic explorations. Fans of percussion à la Iannis Xenakis, Steve Reich or Cevdet Erek should get their money’s worth.