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André Müller: Andremu

img  Tobias Fischer

There are probably two extreme poles of a bass player’s approach to a solo record. One is an ostensible demonstration of technical skills, virtuosity and enhancements of the instrument's known capacities - in its most advanced form probably inedible for a non-musician audience (and in fairness for the rest as well). Then, there's an entirely different way to get heard: A sometimes implausible stretch to reach a wider audience by trying to please mainstream demands. This has often failed miserably as we know, leading even to a loss of credibility on the artist's side. As with most things happening nowadays, it has become quite unfashionable to stay on a healthy, balanced middle path, let things dwell and develop in their own place at their natural pace.

André Müller, born in Switzerland and living in Vienna, became known to a wider audience as a very “musical” chapman stick player, most notably on some European loop festivals and has also garnered some attention with his other band project “Muellers Message”. Since he decided to focus completely on producing his debut release nearly two years ago, he’s been continuously publishing his song sketches during the production period, which already gave a hint of what to expect: highly balanced, sometime melancholic compositions that were mainly recorded with electric bass and chapman stick.
All but unnoticeably and clearly in a bid for quality, André Müller expanded most of today’s playing techniques for the electric bass, employing new tunings, polyphonic playing (also on chapman stick) picking and so forth for his first record, resulting in a very warm, organic as well as dynamic sound. The common listener, not intoxicated with too much technical knowledge might even wonder why those “guitars” have such a warm and thick sound… It really takes some time and close listening to hear those twists and beautiful details that lift the material above the trivial and that’s a good thing, a very good thing indeed.

But it’s simply more than just a bass record. The guest singers on nearly half of the songs broaden the spectrum: touching ambient, progressive rock, a little bit of softer jazz (luckily not too much) and even the never dying pop song. Everything is recorded very clearly, precisely and nothing is overcooked with effects, but just decently lifted up. Personally I tend to the instrumental pieces, especially “the Wizard” with its compositional and atmospheric shifting and ambient qualities. “Andremu” is not a bass drone record but based on grooves, composition and precisely played rhythms.

It’s the above mentioned “middle path” that makes the record sympathetic, and rarely did I enjoy simply listening to music as I did with this record, especially with the instrumental pieces. It is a recommendation for both bass players and listeners who appreciate and search for this quality in today’s music, looking for harmony beyond mainstream boredom.

By Matthias Knoll

Homepage: André Müller

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