Max Loderbauer, Claudio Puntin and Samuel Rohrer Ambiq

Max Loderbauer, Claudio Puntin and Samuel Rohrer Ambiq
5
This trio of clarinet, modular synth and drums starts out with some well-executed and coherent improvisations. The mood is dark and pensive, with some moments venturing into the realm of paranoid Apocalypse Now-styled vamps as on "Tragus."

These musicians are obviously very skilled, and their ability to create themes and forms either on a harmonic framework or a rhythmic pulse is evident. Rohrer's drum work punctuates and carries the themes with subtlety and compositional flair, and Puntin's clarinet interventions are alternately stately and playful. Loderbauer's work on the Buchla 200e synth is tasteful and reserved, allowing for space to be created for the less ambient textures of his fellow musicians to enter and leave the synth wash without drowning them.

The album starts to drag a bit as it moves along, with the insistence of staying in the place where it started but with fewer "surprises" as it were, getting weaker as it progresses. It's a shame, really, as the promise for greatness in this work is evident. (Arjuna)