Monday, May 16, 2011

concert review: Olaf Rupp & Julian Sartorius in -able, Berlin | 13 May 2011

On friday I had the luck and pleasure to see Olaf Rupp and Julian Sartorius playing in a small galery in Berlin.

Olaf Rupp is a stunning guitarist, who developed a very personal style of free improvisation on acoustic nylon string guitar. You could feel the legacy of Derek Bailey, the master of improvisation on acoustic guitar (but who isn't his heir in this domain), but Olaf Rupp's technic derives from classical and flamenco, played with fingernails, that make his music quite unique, and very emotional - I have to say that the audience was quite mesmerized! And this doesn't mean that his register is limited, he produces a huge array of sounds, far beyond the suave notes one expects from the nylon string guitar, from thundering chaos to soft micro-melodies, everything very organic and inspired.

For the occasion Olaf Rupp played with drummer Julian Sartorius, who was not less excellent, I rarely saw such a creative improviser in front of a drum set, combining endless different technics with a great accuracy, avoiding the usual trap of the accumulation of tricks.

I appreciated the fact that the concert was dense but short, many improvisers fall in a kind of trance and loose track of good timing, where Rupp and Sartorius, who had something to tell, just told it and stopped (though the audience insisted for an encore!) A word also about the place, this small gallery in Neukölln called -able, who organizes more and more interesting concerts - I'm happy that they are in my neighborhood and that they are my friends, and I advise my fellow berliners to keep an eye on their program...

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