John Hughes / Lars Scherzberg / Nicolas Wiese – DISCARD HIDDEN LAYERS?


The title is a question asked by PhotoShop before one deletes unseen picture layers, but it refers here to the improvisational interactions of bassist Hughes and saxophonist Scherzberg with each other and with Wiese’s electronic manipulations of their sounds. This is not the first group to combine free improvisation and real-time electronics, but this particular trio manages to maintain a high level of interest throughout without a hitch, although the results are still short of classic. The different experiences of the musicians – which include names such as Jeff Arnal and Wolfgang Fuchs – are triturated, chewed up and spit out in a concoction of difficult-to-handle realities, vivid acoustic images and replicated daydreams, parts of a cryptic lexicon where each meaning lasts for an instant prior to being entirely subverted by succeeding occurrences. All of the above might suggest this is a diverse record, and that’s certainly the case, yet the music can be annoyingly awkward and tangled, lacking the necessary distinction between instrumental colours – which would be good to enjoy, as Hughes and Scherzberg are unquestionably talented players – and failing to reach a satisfying outcome. In a nutshell, this music is merely and dispassionately “experimental”, never really taking off and flying, much less touching our heart.


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