Friday 22 October, 2021 | 17:00
Philipp Gropper: tenor saxophone;
Elias Stemeseder: piano, keyboards;
Robert Landfermann: double bass;
Oliver Steidle: drums;
It is a trendy Berlin quartet, winner of the Deutscher Jazzpreis as the band of the year 2021. No irony, no references, no intellectual theatricality, just sound and technique. Philipp Gropper, Robert Landfermann, Oliver Steidle and Elias Stemeseder show little interest in postmodernism. They prefer to shine as a group instead as a collection of individuals and rather than focus on association and deconstruction, they focus on creativity and sharing. The band’s music is tight and fast, it still has plenty of room and it does not scream at you for no particular reason.
Landfermann and Steidle don’t just represent the rhythm section, because they constantly build a tightly-meshed sound machine. Gropper and Stemeseder propel them forward, forcing them to make lightning-fast changes in tempo or rhythm. Philipp Gropper’s saxophone, then, does not show a sweet sentimentality for bygone times. The sound is edgy but never cold, because the inspiration for its motifs often comes from a spiritual melancholy. Elias Stemeseder has a knack for creating strange yet haunting melodies, but that is the only string in his bow. He also introduces mood swings with electronic interjections or excursions into noise. PHILM is a distillation of classic 60s quartets: no irony, no references, no intellectual theatricality, only sound and technique.