Max Lässer - Between
World Music


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Between (BW103)

featuring Busi Mhlongo, Lungiswa, Pops Mohamed, Amampondo & Jessica Lauren,. Four years after A Different Kind Of Blue (BW018), Max Lässer has brought out his new CD, 'Between'. It is full of surprises; the result of both a new beginning and a breakthrough. With rhythmic eloquence, it documents the milestones of a musical and above all a personal process of growth with power and verve. The first fruit of this development is his collaboration with a group of female singers and musicians from South Africa.


Over a decade and four albums with his Ark project, Max Lässer developed a uniquely luscious sound. Now, with Little Ark, Lässer has stripped down his sound to affect the listener in a more direct, primordial way. "I used to place the music in the foreground, so I could hide behind it," Lässer confesses. "That concept no longer works."
Liberated from the constraints placed upon him by an outworn concept, an untrammeled joy in playing breaks through. "I have tried to grasp the essence of immediate experience," says Max Lässer. So the numbers recorded with the band are now played together with the live solos. "We decided to keep all the mistakes. Of course there was great temptation to play around with the individual numbers, but then much of the intensity of the recordings would have been lost." The key to the album is the title song, 'Between'. It links the harmonious melodies of earlier days with Lässer's newly discovered spontaneity. This spontaneous, unrefined approach is heard in the opening number, New Friends, which Lässer recorded using a lauda, a kind of lute he discovered years ago in a pharmacy on the Canary Islands. Bhoyi is intense, its tension draw from the opposition between a typical, lyrical Lässer arrangement and Busi Mhlongo's singing and earthy mbira textures.


'Kumnand'i is an enchanting song that acquires its peculiar resonance from the clear voice of South African singer, Lungiswa Plaatjies, and the penetrating sound of the choir. Home is a piece created at the end of 1995 in South Africa, bin which a kora, played by Pops Mohamed, can be heard for the first time in Max's music: "The idea came to me in a few seconds; it is a very simple melody that gave me the feeling of being back where I really feel at home."
Although 'Between' is an album that heralds the beginning of a new musical development, Lässer never loses his orientation: "I feel quite clearly that I am in the middle of this process. I've abandoned a structure that gave me a strong sense of security for many years. I must admit the new territory that I've entered makes me apprehensive, but optimism has definitely been the dominant note in my experience during the recording, especially in South Africa."
Listeners will also realise that Max Lässer has not broken completely with his past, but has remained true to his greatest strength: his music evokes an atmosphere that never leaves one unmoved.
Video Links: Busi Mhlongo laying down a vocal track for this album, Pops Mohamed playing kora.



Track Listing (30 Second Samples)

2. KUMNANDI feat Lungiswa
4. LUA LUA feat Busi Mhlongo
5. 2 TALK
7. BHOYI feat Busi Mhlongo
14. HOME  feat Busi Mhlongo and Pops Mohamed