Kaleidoscope String Quartet – Reflections (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 47:08 minutes | 888 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Traumton
With the studio albums released to date and with spectacular concerts, the Kaleidoscope String Quartet (KSQ) has become internationally established very well over the past years. The four Swiss musicians transcend the classical string quartet format into new dimensions and leave genre limitations behind. On their second work Curiosity, released in fall 2015, they already fascinated with striking timbres and charismatic original compositions. In the following performances they amazed even more with virtuosity, dynamic joy in improvisation and consistently playing without any sheet music. The extra challenge of playing everything by heart, “enables a free, venturesome approach of the musical material and opens space for development and intensification,” the first violinist Simon Heggendorn explains.
On the new third album Reflections, aside from only two own compositions by Simon Heggendorn and David Schnee, the Kaleidoscope String Quartet now interprets surprisingly many pieces penned by other composers. Among the delegated composers are well-known names like the Zurich-based Zen-Jazz thinker Nik Bärtsch and Mathias Rüegg, head of the legendary Vienna Art Orchestra. Furthermore, the Viennese double bass player Georg Breinschmid, movie score specialist and piano sound explorer Ephrem Lüchinger, as well as saxophonist Nicole Johänntgen. The KSQ regards opening the repertoire to music of other artists as a substantial development, after defining and sharpening its individual profile with exclusively own pieces until now.
There were no guidelines given to the composers in regard to style or genre, the quartet explains. With its intricately detailed and repetitive structures, “Modul 17” is obviously quite indicative of Nik Bärtsch, even though all four KSQ members contributed ideas while developing the arrangement. “Gospodine Marquis” by Georg Breinschmid exudes subtle humor due to its cunning playfulness with allegedly familiar melodies. Other pieces don’t necessarily reveal their creator right away. Its jazz-affiliated aesthetic entices the KSQ into a rhythmically accentuated approach of playing more decisively than in the past. Besides exciting contrasts of enticing melodies and elaborate counterpoints, the four sometimes even develop rock-like energy, for example in Heggendorn’s “Cthulhus Dance”.
The KSQ was founded in 2009 on occasion of a production where the string section was playing with a jazz quintet. Thereafter Heggendorn and Schnee – at that time still with two other partners (including violinist Tobias Preisig) – decided to continue as the Kaleidoscope String Quartet. In 2011 the debut album Magenta was released. In the following year the ensemble was awarded the ZKB Jazz Prize, which the newspaper Tagesanzeiger Zürich raved about: “Never before has there been a winner, who acquired the prize with such suppleness.” The above-mentioned second album, Curiosity, received ecstatic responses. A critic of the magazine Rondo described it as “highly enjoyable and intelligent music”, while Jazz Thing wrote, the musicians “join baroque figures with fine melancholy into almost abstract shapes and swing through pop riffs. […] An enchanting mélange of arranged and improvised music.” Equally euphoric are the reactions of audiences of the concerts, which have already brought the KSQ to concert halls and jazz clubs halfway around the globe. In 2016 for instance, it played at the Cully Jazz Festival, in the Gasteig in Munich and on the plaza of the Elbphilharmonie, in 2017 the band successfully toured through Brazil and Argentina, guested at the Brussels Chamber Music Festival and at Bayerischer Rundfunk [Bavarian Broadcasting] as part of “Klassik im Underground” [Classical Music in the Underground]. In March 2018 the KSQ sold out the Berliner Radialsystem V, in June it realized a joint orchestra project with the Basel Sinfonietta.
The Kaleidoscope String Quartet now switches between lightness and sharp detail, between transparency and complex densification more masterly than ever. The playful elegance and charisma enthralls friends of jazz and classical music, as well as fans of pop music. Especially since the KSQ wipes all dogmas aside and focuses completely on its own multifariously shimmering cosmos of sound. Such a top-class and at the same time unpretentious grandeur is rare. With Reflections, the Kaleidoscope String Quartet definitively enters the highest international realm of versatile, stylistically open string quartets.
1. Frühling 05:16
2. Introspection 04:53
3. Gospodine Marquis 06:28
4. Modul 17 07:08
5. Cthulhus Dance 04:10
6. Simply That 05:38
7. Alles Walzer 05:48
8. Iceland 07:47
Simon Heggendorn: violin
Ronny Spiegel: violin
David Schnee: viola
Sebastian Braun: violoncello