Just holding the incredibly beautiful textural packaging of a Winter & Winter recording is like fondling an expensive wallet made of the finest leather – you’re predisposed to feeling enriched by whatever is on the CD.
In the case of Theo Bleckmann, calling him a vocalist doesn’t seem to do justice to his art. Using the unlikeliest of objects as instruments – hand-held fans, water bottles and tongue drums, finger cymbals, chimes and shakers, Bleckmann creates without interruption and this recording, made at a remote monastery in Switzerland chosen for its acoustics and natural reverberations, is mostly an unedited on-the-spot performance. Sound and open space are building blocks for songs derived from poetry, esoteric texts or simple from gentle improvisations, and they’re held firmly together by Bleckmann’s amazing voice choreography. On “I Hear A Rhapsody,” one of two standards on the album, Bleckmann’s voice floats in the ether pausing for a brief interlude of a melodica – a kind of small accordion – before returning with a haunting yet gorgeous turn for the chorus. In between Bleckmann’s remarkable original works, you’ll hear a straightforward rendition of James Taylor’s “Lonesome Road” where he uses the sounds of his footsteps for percussion, and another standard, Comes Love,” where he accompanies himself on Indonesian frog buzzer.
Bleckmann’s facility with sound, some of which you’ve never heard before, roots him in a post-modern category that’s jazz-centric while also reaching for something beyond. What you hear is on “I Dwell In Possibility” is magical in the extreme. (15 tracks: 53:03 minutes) (photo by Susie Knoll)
Labels: Moss, Theo Bleckmann, Winter and Winter