German trio The Nest have just released two new tracks from the sessions that produced their latest full-length, making for an opportune moment to revisit a record which deserves some attention. Das Lied Der Ankommenden was released in the height of the summer, but its moody blend of jazz instrumentation and electronics has been a fitting companion as I struggle through the early onset of winter and Holiday Season malaise. While this collection was produced to accompany theatre performances with Drama Köln, the dynamic interaction between the three musicians, and between the electronic and analog instruments, captures the spontaneous interplay of improvisers at their best.
The Nest (not to be confused with the Finnish ambient duo Nest) is comprised of members of Desmond Denker, SFX, and, most notably, Bohren & der Club of Gore. The last was long a favorite of ours here at ACL, but we’ve not heard anything from them for the better part of a decade making Das Lied Der Ankommenden a very welcome treat. That’s not to suggest that The Nest sound particularly like Bohren, though I suspect they will appeal to fans of that group nonetheless. They are nowhere near as slow as Bohren, and their previous releases up until now included vocals from Thomas Mahmoud. Now a trio consisting of Christoph Clöser (tenor sax, synth), Gerald Mandl (bass, fx), and Tycho Schottelius (turntables and synth), the reduced ensemble allows greater space for interaction between the members. Schottelius’ turntable manipulation in particular keeps the music fresh, as surprising sororities emerge.
Tenor saxophonist Clöser was a member of Bohren since 2000’s Sunset Mission, but with that group he also contributed Rhodes. Here he alternates instead with a synthesizer, which helps add to the tonal variety found across these 15 improvisations, though his saxophone is very often manipulated with effects in any case. The various electronic instruments often keep the low-end sounding full, leaving room for more lyrical bass playing from Mandl. While the group cites noise as a influence alongside jazz and electroacoustic, Das Lied Der Ankommenden never ventures far into abrasive sounds. While the group doesn’t quite live up to the label of “Happy Dark Jazz” suggested by the closing track, the music of The Nest strikes a pleasant balance between moods and sounds. The Nest have arrived. (Joseph Sannicandro)