Meinrad Kneer - Albert van Veenendaal
Meinrad Kneer: double bass
Albert van Veenendaal: (prepared) piano
In the very moment Meinrad Kneer and Albert van Veenendaal begun their musical co-operation, they knew that their ideas about interplay and improvisation are very close. In this new duo (the recordings were made in september 2004) the two musicians dare to go near original compositions and free improvisation without being prejudiced in any way. Alternate techniques used by both instrumentalists add an innumerable number of colours to the already very varied sound spectrum of the duo. Led through intuition and a perfectly matched feeling for form and timing with each other, their improvisations time after time lead into breathtaking soundscapes, wherein listeners loose their sense of reality and are tempted to dream away into visual ‘hallucinations‘.
once more we write about the dutch label evil rabbit, founded by meinrad kneer and albert van veenendaal getting back to its first two releases: the first one sees at work the two deus ex machina.
the munderkingen sessions, part 1 is the accurate session performed in munderkingen, germany, by albert van veenendal at prepared piano and meinrad kneer at double bass.
the meeting between the two musicians gave life to a series of modern compositions in which jazz splendidly blends with contemporary music, which comes with an almost classical flavor. the pieces are equally balanced in improvisations (klangewelt 1,2,3 and the four variations nature morte), real compositions (gazz, fliegentod) and effective compromises (cherry, schoener berg).
it is a nocturnal timeless music to surrender to with a cigarette between the lips, a glass of whiskey in the hands and the thought of an unreachable woman. (…)
sands-zine, alfredo rastelli, march 2008
translated by se
this beautiful music is the individual expression of separately felt emotions. the steinway – recorded with a neumann microphone – is played fourhanded, meaning: you actually hear all sounds a piano can produce.
the principal of the “prepared” piano is known since john cage. the attentive listener will instantly notice that van veenendaal and kneer completely understand and follow each other. they speak the same language on the same wavelength and know exactly how to put this into shape. and it happens quite spontaneously as the music lays itself down like a puzzle as it were. each musical cell brings forth another. and the two gentlemen never enter exhibitionism. the sounds produce a coherent entity and their suggestive power makes for their depicting character. this is good evidence for the munderkingen sessions being deeply lived through and consistent. van veenendaal does not want to create musical wallpaper, he does not want to please but he does want to communicate. creating a demanding dialog in music, finely woven, sometimes traditionally harmonious and then again atonal and clashingly dissonant. but always in balance and harmony. the munderkingen sessions perfectly display what a grand piano and a double bass are capable of. in addition the recording on their own label evil rabbit record is of superior quality. absolute top of the bill!
marc van de walle, 20th march 2008, www.jazzenzo.nl, translated by anna feilchenfeldt
this cd shows what happens when two great improvisers get together with nothing but their imaginations and their ears for signposts. i have no idea how long meinrad kneer and albert van veenendaal have worked together but they mesh well, as they mix duos of dark lyricism and gravity, like “cherry” and “gazz,” with almost too many short bursts of percussive knocks and prickly string plucking that sound like creaks from a haunted house. the entire cd has a dark cast to it. the prepared, abstract stuff gets heavy after a while and, on pieces like “fligentod” and “schoener berg,” light crystalline piano melodies are undermined by the sour groan of bowed bass. overall the music here is delicate but comes off really dark and may ultimately be too oppressive for some people.
jerome wilson, april 2008, cadence
last year pianist van veenendaal and double bass player meinrad kneer founded the label evil rabbit records, the basis of which being the duo’s improvisations. the cd the munderkingen sessions – named after the german village where they recorded it – could be considered their artistic signature. their repertoire reaches from (in every aspect) harmonious collaboration through rougher free improvisations to sound-estrangement excluding any touching of a key or stroking of a string.
the constant factor is their clear tone.
jazz bulletin, january 2008, nr. 66, translated by anna feilchenfeldt
... "The recordings from the German town with the same name are crystal clear and show how crafty Kneer and Van Veenendaal treat dynamics. Their improvisations are soft as whispers at times but a piece like “Oscar & Willi” will roar out of the speakers. Even though neither of them will have their instrument fit into its respective traditional role the music displays no clichés whatsoever. Also during the open improvisations and sound explorations the music will maintain its core and remains exciting and unpredictable..."
Jazzflits nr 3, 11 february 2007, Herman te Loo
http://www.jazzflits.nl/jazzflits5.03.pdf translated by Anna Feilchenfeldt
"after having surprised and delighted us with the thrilling "predictable point of impact", once more the label evil rabbit and his eclectic founder albert van veenendaal make us talk about them.
on this occasion the dutch musician leaves the formula of the classic piano trio and performs a series of duets together with the loyal double-bass player meinrad kneer (cofounder and moving spirit of the "cattivo coniglio= evil rabbit").
so they change the formula but, above all, the substance. in fact the proposed music, without pulse and rhythmical support, moves definitely towards expanded and suspended as introspective and dense atmospheres.
put aside the brilliant compositional vein shown in the previous work with such a genius (which might be an overused and abused term, but this time it is really worth using it), the two fellow-travellers indulge in widely improvised conversations, played on the economy of harmonic tools and the obsessive research about timbres: delicate crystal architectures in which every note is chosen, evaluated and distillated with extreme care and cold sobriety.
the result is a record which is floating, atmospheric, made of tiny details, carved (chiseled) in a refined way and obviously close to suggestions which are obliquely contemporary (cage for all and not only for the prepared piano used in several occasions but also for a certain percussive taste of the duets and some space-interpretation of the sound).
clear, furthermore, the consonance with the work of the "amm" and with the elegant, essential touch of the great john tilbury, appreciated interpreter of the repertoire of cage and cornelius cardew (an other composer often evoked by the dutch couple). we certainly miss the dazzling 'epiphany' of the trio record but who was searching confirmations about the weight of the characters involved will not be disappointed. at this point we can dare to say: european improvised music has found a new referring point."
all about jazz - italy, luca canini, 11 september 2007, translated by sara ercoli, http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article_email.phpid=1969