New review in Le Son du Grisli on Tokar/Gotesmanas/Küchen “Live at Vilnius Jazzfestival”.

New review on Enola (in dutch) on “Bauchreder” , released on Cathnor records in 2015.

Review of “Injuries” at the All about Jazz-site

Review of “…and everything inside came down as dust.. .” at Brian Olewnick´s Just outside blog

And “Injuries” 5 star review on Stef´s Freejazzblog

Review of “…and everything inside came down as dust…”

From Stef´s Freejazzblog

Angles 9 – In Our Midst (Clean Feed, 2013) ****

By Dan Sorrells

One of last year’s highlights was Angles 8’s sprawling By Way of Deception, an album that introduced an expanded line-up and featured liner notes by Free Jazz blog founder Stef Gijssels. After two previous releases on Clean Feed, By Way of Deception showed that there was still room for bandleader Martin Küchen’s vision to grow, with pianist Alexander Zethson greatly expanding the group’s rhythmic foundation, and Eirik Hegdal’s additional saxophone further broadening the band’s sonic palette.

On Clean Feed’s latest venture into the LP resurgence, Angles has expanded yet again, adding trumpeter Magnus Broo back into the fold after his absence on By Way of Deception. (It should be noted the band has grown even more since this recording, appearing at Jazzfestival Saalfelden this summer as a 10-piece with an additional drummer). A single LP, In Our Midst feels like a quick update, an intermediate document that serves as a snapshot of the band as it continues to evolve.

In Our Midst opens with a new eponymous track, a smoldering piece that builds a typically wistful melodic theme over slow-motion afrobeat rhythms. Angles’ music has always been deceptively simple and completely unsubtle at first blush. In reality, it’s meticulously crafted, emotive music that’s continually reborn as the musicians explore the possibilities in songs they have become intimately familiar with (Küchen doesn’t write anything down—the group learns and internalizes the music through Küchen’s demonstrations). Angles has in spades what many improvising groups have trouble conjuring: visceral emotional impact. It’s a music that aims to deliver to the listener even the smallest notion of its creator’s incredible passion. Huge rhythmsand dulcet counterpoint, playfulness and humor juxtaposed with plaintive melody, the fact that all of their albums have been live concert recordings: all of these serve as direct conduits of music-making passion. An Angles tune is designed to elevate musician and listener together to a shared, ecstatic plane. Foremost, it is a music of feeling.

One of the many pleasures of following Angles over the years has also been hearing the wayKüchen’s pieces have developed along with the band. The overlap in tunes on previous albums continues here: In Our Midst’s other offerings include “Every Woman is a Tree” from their debut, and the title track from last year’s By Way of Deception. “Every Woman is a Tree” has a fairly standard jazz tune structure, and has served as one of few vehicles for extended soloing by Küchen. Here, it takes on an all-new intensity, beginning with an angular piano vamp before ramping up to the head. The band now has many more possibilities behind the long solo in the mid-section: first, a monstrous bearing-down on the hypnotic beat; then multi-octave rephrasings of the main theme; finally, out-and-out improvised mayhem. The song sounds more urgent and cathartic than ever before. Similarly, “By Way of Deception” feels far more primal, the band muscling through the first portion of the song like brutes on a rampage.

On one level, you could say In Our Midst is more of the same from Angles. To my mind, that will continue to be a reason to get excited. But it’s a sentiment that oversimplifies: these songs may be familiar, but like the very best musical acts, Angles makes them feel new each time they’re heard.

From LIRA nr 1/2014

En frisk fläkt över jazzlandskapet Angles 9 In our midst CLEAN FEED

UTÖKAD FRIHET. Från sex till nio man – altsaxofonisten Martin Küchen utökar sitt ambitiösa Angles-projekt. Här finner vi Mattias Ståhl på vibrafon. Johan Berthling på kontrabas med polaren An- dreas Werliin bak kaggarna och cymbalerna. Goran KajfeÊ på kornett. Mats Äleklint blåser flyglarm i trombonen. Jag tänker inte räkna upp dem alla, men tillsammans skapar de en musik i samklang med tiden. Överallt vi blickar möts vi av oroligheter och oegentlig- heter. Av förtryckets brutalitet och av förföriska budskap. Då krävs ett vaket sinne, en öppen attityd. En uppkopplad men frikopplad människa. Som ändå måste slå sig samman med andra likasinnade, lika frisinnade, för att förändra och förbättra. Då tjänar Angles 9 utmärkt som soundtrack. För det här är frisinnad jazz som blåser friska vindar över det svenska jazzlandskapet. Ja, över det internationella jazzland- skapet, katten. Nio man. Det innebär ökad frihet, ökad sammanhåll- ning, ökad styrka. Att Angles 9 tar avstamp i estetiken kring Charlie Hadens Liberation Orchestra visste vi sedan tidigare. Nu tar de ytterligare steg för att frigöra sig från förebildens skugga. Det är instrumental musik, utan sång. Men du hör. Du märker. Du känner vart det blåser. Tre långa spår, på becksvart vinyl. Men de rymmer så mycket hopp, så mycket kraft. TIMO KANGAS

From Stef´s Freejazzblog

Martin Küchen: Hellstorm – Man erkennt langsam das Elend, das über uns gekommen ist (Mathka, 2012) *****

Exactly two years ago, on December 18, 2010, Swedish altoist Martin Küchen recorded “Hellstorm”, in an audienceless church in Sweden. The result is so excellent that two reviewers were competing to give their opinion.

By Stef

“Hellstorm – Man erkennt langsam das Elend, dass über uns gekommen ist” is a quote from saxophonist Martin Küchen’s father’s diary, written at the end of the Second World War. It means “the misery that has fallen upon us, is slowly being recognised”.

Küchen’s passion and compassion and rage with the ways of humanity are known and mentioned in the reviews with Trespass Trio and Angles. Now he does it alone, using multiple instruments : baritone saxophone, radio, alto saxophone, electronic tampoura and even electric toothbrush, assisted by Jakob Riis who mixed and mastered. Simple tools to rage against war, but his cry is a powerful one.

The music was recorded live in Allhelgonakyrkan, the All Saints Church in Lund, Sweden, on the 18th of December, 2010. Not that this is a live setting or so. They just went into the church on a snowy day two years ago and recorded the music in one take. Then they left.

The end result is one of those rare records that make you weep with sadness. It is beautiful in its simplicity, in the cry of the single voice, sometimes quenched, often howling, yet melodiously, lyrically, using every possible timbral possibility to make the feelings richer and truer, as a real human voice would.

The incredible sadness that permeates the whole album is relatively unique, including the abandon with which Küchen is willing to expose his own feelings in what some might call brutally sentimental. I have tried to find comparable voices, but I get no further than Frank London’s “Invocations” or Lou Reed’s “Berlin”, but the former is more spiritual and the second more personal, yet the common denominator is the infinite sadness and powerlessness of the individual. The kind of sadness that makes you uncomfortable, but because of the music’s aesthetic beauty, you want to hear again, yet I can also guarantee that when you feel sad, it will give you comfort. This is no longer experimental music. This is the voice of an artist who knows how to go beyond the surface of technique to dig deep, and finds a language that everybody will understand. To Küchen’s credit, he always stays on the right side of good taste, which is the biggest challenge when going this far into emotional expressivity, and even more, he creates sounds you’ve never heard before, yet the underlying feeling is all the more familiar. A stellar achievement.

By Martin Schray

There have always been albums that discuss free music and Nazi atrocities – like John Zorn’s Kristallnacht or even recently Günter “Baby” Sommer’s Songs for Kommeno and Martin Küchen’s other new album Brother Beda. But while Sommer’s well-intentioned lament fails because it is too pompous, Küchen’s approach is much more private and subtle. This is already shown in the fact that it is a solo album with him on baritone saxophone, radio, alto saxophone, electronic tampoura, and electric toothbrush.

Hellstrom tries to transcend the results of Nazi terror starting with “Allemagne Anneé Zero”, a reminiscence of the Roberto Rosselini film of the same title which was shot in a bombed Berlin in 1948. Supported by electric tempura and radio static Küchen’s high-pitched baritone literally cries out the whole grief people must have felt, you can see hollow-eyed people walking like ghosts through the ruins. All that was left was complete nothingness … devastation … disaster … hell. It is simple music, recorded in one take in a Swedish church on a cold winter’s day. Hardly ever has there been so much sorrow and immediacy in music.

But Küchen wants to show terror in context, he gives suffering a sound. The next track, “The Russia We Lost”, refers to a documentary which shows “the horrendous, hyper- destructive long period of Bolschevism” as Küchen says in the liner notes. Again, now with Küchen on solo baritone, the music is of tangible sadness, but although it is full of emotion you can feel the chill of the Russian winter creeping through your bones. Küchen hardly cannot stand the fact that children are slaughtered, that people are losing their homes, starving, being killed by missiles all over the world. “Sarajevo” just reminds us of the latest tragedy right in front of our door when more than 10,000 people were killed and large parts of the city were destroyed. It is music that shows history from a people’s view (here especially the Bosnian people when he uses Arabian elements as key motives in the track). “10,000 Years” and “Ritual Defamation (to Laird Wilcox)” are like one song. Now the atmosphere is changing, the tracks are more percussive and Küchen uses circular breathing. It is hard to bear these last two pieces because it seems that you can hear the piercing shrieks of dying people.

Even if this review sounds completely depressing I highly want to recommend this album. I cannot recall when I heard music so moving. However, there is comfort in the way Küchen tries to fight his personal ghosts. He looks on the ruins as if he was contemplating his own broken history (he has Jewish ancestors who died in Auschwitz). And although we slowly recognize this huge misery that has come upon us (this is what the German part of the title means) we try to fight and keep going. Even if this seems to be a truism, it gives this album a deep humaneness.

Hellstorm is available as a limited vinyl edition (but also as a digital download). If you have a record player, I can only recommend the LP, it sounds beautiful.

You can listen to parts of the album and buy it here:

“Epileptical west –live in Coimbra”
(Clean feed)

Debutplattan var högklassig, spirituell, politisk jazz, och på Epileptical west går den svenska sextetten ännu djupare in i samtidssvärta och poetisk slagkraft. Det är ett suveränt band –Johan Berthling, Kjell Nordeson, Mats Äleklint, Mattias Ståhl och Magnus Broo samt gruppledare Martin Küchen –men även om individuella prestationer hugger till så är det som kollektiv Angles slår det mesta av dagens frijazz. Musiken river upp sår och plåstrar om på en och samma gång. Det frustar, brinner och afrobeatsvänger. Martin Küchen har gjort mycket bra – men Angles är nog hans allra vassaste band hittills.

PM Jönsson/GP

Angles Epileptical West – Live in Coimbra

Last year regular reader Wojtek asked me why I didn’t give the previous album by Angles, “Every Woman Is A Tree” a five star rating. And I reacted saying that I really had considered it, yet did not at the last moment. I will make up for this and give the band’s new release the maximum rating, because every track on the album is equally strong and compelling, while the music is powerfully expressive, the playing exuberant and full of emotional depth.

The band is the brainchild of Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen, and further consists of Mattias Ståhl on vibraphone, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Mats Älekint on trombone, Kjell Nordeson on drums and Johan Bertling on double bass.

Like its predecessor, the music is one long wail of protest and anger against the madness of today’s world. In order to do that, the band falls back on African rhythms, grand themes, and tremendous playing. The wonderful first track could be coming from Bengt Berger’s “Bitter Funeral Beer”, (one of my all-time favorites) with its polyrhythmic drive, strong theme and wild interactions, yet which all fit into one whole.

The second piece, “Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”, starts with slow vibes, and rumbling drums, as a gradual build-up for the glorious theme, introduced by Küchen, with the other horns echoing it, and driving it forward. It is of a hair-raising sadness.

The title track starts full of disorientation and madness over a strong rhythmic backbone, with Broo’s trumpet leading the tune, then changing gear into a strong African rhythm, half-funky over which a compelling theme is woven, a solid base for the individual soloists to express their anger, and joy, then shifting back into chaotic madness, with the bass driving up the tempo to give Nordeson the chance to hammer away. “En Svensk Brownie”, is again a funky rhythmic delight, evolving into middle piece with the arco bass and percussion reminiscent of Hemphill’s Dogon A.D.

To my great joy, they also play the title song of their previous album, an absolutely stunning, stirring, rousing composition, again a gloriously expansive piece, that is both sad and joyful, angry and inviting, full of powerful soloing. The long last track is quieter, subdued, with Küchen’s soloing beautifully soulful and bluesy, giving a great sense of compassion and hope at the same time.The piece becomes excited, then is crystalised around a sensitive arco bass solo by Bertling in the middle, then moving back to the main theme and related distress.

And it is a live album, with an audience that shouts full of enthusiasm, not only after the tracks, but also when the band unexpectedly change gear, or fall back into a steady groove. Great!
As you may read, I am excited. And more than just a little. This music gets you whole: soul, mind, heart and body
. If you buy only one album this year, buy this one!

Stefs Freejazzblog

Angles Epileptical West – Live in Coimbra

Av: Thomas Millroth

För 40-50 år sedan, så långt tillbaka, brann jazzmusiken, det var svedjebrand. Den svarta musiken gick parallellt med litteratur, politik och en öppet undersökande och ifrågasättande attityd gentemot historieskrivning och ideologi. Det går inte se och höra den musiken utan den samtida kontexten, som ju också var dess styrka. En hel del kraft fann den också i en halvt ockult halvt andlig sfär, som kanske är svårsmält idag. Det är därför det också varit så svårt, ja hart när omöjligt att göra om konststycket. I alla fall inom karbonjazzen. Iggy Pop och Patti Smith och alla punkare lyckades desto bättre – för de hade anledningen.

Fortfarande idag finns en sida i den fria jazzen som vetter mot klichén. Det är väl i sin ordning, men också rätt tröttsamt att uppleva en musik som bara lyssnar på annan musik för att spegla den. Som om kontext och dekonstruktion aldrig hade existerat.

Nu tar saxofonisten Martin Küchen tillsammans med vibrafonisten Mattias Ståhl, trumpetaren Magnus Broo, trombonisten Mats Äleklint, slagverksspelaren Kjell Nordeson och basisten Johan Berthling sig an uppgiften att stilmässigt röra sig någonstans i frijazzens brännpunkt som Angles.

Albumet öppnar med ett gungande beat, sugande melodier och fett sextettsound vars konturer görs skarpa av Berthlings bestämda bas, Ståhls klirrigt nervösa vibrafon och Nordesons ytterst varierade rytmiska spel, ja, när de drar igång sugs jag obönhörligt in. Saken är förstås att kompet kan svänga ordentligt och blåsarna vet hur man suger sötma och märg ur en melodi.

I lamenterande långsamt tempo rullar musiken rytmiskt framåt. Blåsarna sjunger i extas. Broo är som vanligt lysande. Äleklint spelar som om han vore Roswell Rudd. Küchen spelar med blåtonad desperation, och hans låtar är fyllda av möjligheter för musikerna, och Angles blir en sextett av det personliga snittet där gruppen och materialet lyfter alla till något mycket mer än en individ. Kollektiv och person smälter samman.

Och musiken är inte ett slags projekt, detta söndernötta ord, att hylla den ena eller andra, buga åt ena eller andra hållet. Vad jag skulle önska dessa dagar vore en musik som tänds av vad som äger rum i tiden. Inte som pliktskyldiga dedikationer hit och dit, men en musik som vågar utsätta sig och försöka komma åt en struktur, som bär upp känslor framkallade av historia, poesi, ideologikritik – ta allt från Ship to Gaza till det allt brunare Mellaneuropa. Men jag menar inte alls något slags nyprogg med töntiga kamptexter. Hur var det nu? Det lönar sig lyssna på New York Art Quartet, Feminist Improvising Group, Archie Shepp. Utan att göra likadant, för vi måste växa ur det beundrande luftgitarrsyndromet.

Küchen ställer musikens starka flöde vid sidan av ett resonemang om lögnen, att historien måste skrivas om, han släpper fram röster från Baghdad och Gaza utan att ta till brösttoner i konvoluttexten. Han ställer frågor, arbetar med glödande paradoxer, där förstörelse ställs mot välstånd, och själva musiken tillåts vara – paradoxal. Välklingande, extatisk vred som någonsin Mingus eller Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Det är intelligent. Skönt att en musiker agerar lika smart som en textmedveten poet! Kritisk och omfamnande gentemot språket. Det är inte en musikmaskin det gäller, det är extasens och känslornas historia och anatomi. En anledning till musik, att borra sig in i tiden och låta den vara som ett eko. Tro och tvivla på strukturerna, bara vid tvivel spelar musikerna så bra som här. En medveten poetisk klarhörd musiker som Küchen har lyckats skrapa sig ner till ett virrvarr av intryck som kan stillna i en enda politisk estetisk sekund. Patti Smith har skrivit om dagen då Coltrane dog. Jag minns den också. Allt tystnade, det mesta omkring sjönk undan, onödiga ilskor och meningslösa gester, oron över Vietnamkriget rev i bröstet, de svartas rörelse i USA ekade, och plötsligt rymdes allt i detta ögonblick. Och jag tror det var detta som slog likt ett bultande hjärta i varenda svart musikgrupp tio år framåt sedan.

Küchen har lyckats transplantera allt detta till idag.

Men det är ingen pastisch, ta mig Coltrane om inte det här är en av de bästa frijazzplattor jag hört på mycket länge.
Det är Martin Küchens tur nu! Som låtskrivare, solist och kritiskt och poetiskt tänkande musiker.

“The lie and the orphanage”(Mathka)

First of all, is that, or is that not, the best CD sleeve image we’ve seen anywhere for a while? Even the new Chamy/Dorner album cover, which is rather brilliant, isn’t as great as this one. The sleeve, which is roughly the size and shape of a 7″ single’s wraps around a normal size CD, the third solo album by the Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen, titled The Lie & the Orphanage and released on the Polish Mathka label. Now I really like Martin Küchen, both as a person and as a musician, and this new disc, released two or three years after his last excellent solo Homo Sacer is just more confirmation of that fact. So given I really enjoy this CD, as I suspected I would, what more is there for me to say about it?

I find myself trying to dissect the album, work out how it has been made, fathom out whether there is overdubbing at work here or not, second guess how each sound is created, spot where the pocket radio (which is the only listed form of instrumentation other than baritone and alto sax) appears… While this is my natural reaction, I can’t help but feel it is the wrong way to listen, or subsequently write about this music. Küchen creates eight short-ish little soundworlds on this album that each serve as little systems in themselves, often quite circular and repetitive in form, a frequent reminder that we are (mostly) listening to a human being’s breath cycling through a series of metal tubes here. Küchen is amazing to watch live, a mass of tensed muscles thrown into dramatic shapes, his sax, huge in size essentially untreated bar an assortment of whiskey bottle tubes thrust intermittently into the bell, and the pocket radio, often way out of site inside the instrument, switched on and off often with the help of a foot pedal. The techniques tend to get in the way of something like this. As I have written before its better to shut my eyes and not watch at concerts. Listening now I find myself picturing Martin playing when I should be just listening. The music lives and breathes and evolves and grows enough on its own without the visual links.

Each of the pieces here then feels like a little ecosystem. If I cut the images of Martin out of my head I see colonies of ants scurrying to and ‘fro, building little structures, running around in circles, fetching and carrying material from one place to another, the whole thing supporting itself. The pieces feel thoroughly organic in a similar way, air blown into one valve, a sound made, released through another, natural rhythms forming, but changing gradually as different valves are opened, different exit routes offered, and percussive, scraping elements are added. Then there is the radio, which is only ever used to provide hissing, vibrating sounds, we never hear it tuned to any station, so it works as an extra layer of constant sound, indeed often only identifiable by its consistency, the one element not tied to the natural pulse of human breathing patterns. Some tracks sound like mini clockworks, Warszawa, (I think the same track that appeared on one of the Compost and Height Split Series releases?) uses small speedily turning percussive sounds interspersed with gasps of air, others, like the incredible Named by an unnamed source, the opening track, complete with its massive belches of sound that begin the piece are fierce masses of tumbling sounds of assorted shapes, sizes and textures. There is a feeling of Küchen pushing himself, physically, right to the edge- forcing every last gasp of breath, holding on to each exhalation that little bit longer than is comfortable, forcing rapid rhythms that need every muscle twitching in time. I wonder how many pieces were attempted, how often this music fails and recordings are left on the studio floor? I think that on the whole, apart from the closing piece, which is listed as a multitracked work all of these pieces were played straight, in real time without overdubs. I may be wrong, but as unrealistic as this may sound if you listen tot he album I suspect it to be the case.

Martin Küchen is also a highly political, emotional person. The tension in his music runs on through into the titles of the pieces- (Plausible Lies, An Eye for an Eye/Congolese women (for John Sack), Other Losses (for James Bacque) Killing the houses, killing the trees) but it comes from Küchen’s personal dissatisfaction with the world we live in. If elements of this music sound angry, ugly or aggressive then we hear Martin’s disgust at modern Western society expressed in abstract ways. Its impossible (and ridiculous) to try and separate music as personal as this from the person that made it, but here, knowing the man as well as his music the link is clearer than ever. The Lie and the Orphanage then is far more than just a catalogue of extended techniques, as I so wrongly once described his first solo album. Its a work of great depth and surging emotion that tugs you into its web and tears you apart if you get in too deep. Great music indeed.

Richard Pinell – The watchful ear

The lie & the orphanage (Mathka)

Troisième enregistrement solo de l’hyperactif et éclectique suédois Martin Küchen, The Lie & The Orphanage, paru sur le label polonais Mathka, se situe dans la même lignée que les précédents. Un disque encore et toujours aux frontières de l’expérimentation et des résurgences ancestrales.

Car si Küchen utilise uniquement des techniques étendues, sa musique n’a rien à voir avec celle de ses homologues saxophonistes qui poussent l’exploration de l’instrument à ses extrêmes. Les techniques de Küchen servent une musique immémoriale, basée sur le souffle et la percussion. Concrètement, cela donne bien sûr une amplification des clés et des tampons, un souffle accentué et omniprésent: mais le but de Küchen n’est pas d’explorer l’instrument, cette exploration est mise au service d’un contenu beaucoup moins austère que les recherches froides menées sur le timbre auxquelles nous sommes habitués. Ici, le rythme est au premier plan, chaque composition se trame sur une pulsation primordiale, une pulsation sur laquelle peut se déployer la musique, dont l’absence serait dévastatrice.

C’est ensuite un souffle qui surplombe cette pulsation, parfois une mélodie aux sonorités proches de la flûte, parfois un simple son modifié par les clés, ou encore les clés seules, etc., les possibilités sont infinies.
Küchen nous plonge dans une musique immémoriale, ancestrale, qui appartient aujourd’hui à l’inconscient collectif.
L’approche est organique, des idées simples se déploient non sans nous affecter profondément, car les compositions mises au point par ce jeune prodige sont extrêmement émotionnelles, elles sont mêmes brulantes de sentiments: la haine du mensonge, la tristesse de l’orphelinat peut-être, la mélancolie, mais aussi et surtout la joie et l’énergie propres aux rites et aux cérémonies, l’espoir fondé par la magie de la musique.

The Lie & The Orphanage regroupe huit pièces assez courtes, chacune possède son propre caractère, et toutes nous affectent différemment, Küchen nous guide dans des territoires musicaux et sentimentaux uniques (parce qu’inconscients?), mais qui sont néanmoins tous ancrés dans un paysage empreint d’humanité et de ritualisme.
Des compositions organiques, puissantes, riches (derrière l’apparente monotonie de la pulsation se cache parfois des compositions rythmiques étonnantes), et toujours créatives. Magnifique!

Julien Héraud, 2011

The lie and the orphanage” (Mathka)

(…) Suffice it to say that this is an outstanding recording, something everyone reading this should hear.


It could be a walrus. Some very large, ungainly, semi-aquatic creature expelling air through a hole layered with tissue and fat and hairs. But then multiple apertures open at once and the creature just spouts information, chaotic from one angle, streamlined from another. Effluvia momentarily expelled, the beast lies down and breathes in short, percolating gasps, quiet but insistent. The pressure builds, however, surging in near-regular waves, causing the organ-walls to quiver, liquid to shudder, wind-drying them, forcing them to grind to a stuttering halt. Gasping again, more desperate and asthmatic, the inhaler partially blocked by fibers, the meager air whistling as it’s sucked in, exhaled. At last, the whole bubbling, churning, motoric organism shifts into gear, half-beast, half-machine, navigating through viscous fluid, eating, excreting, copulating as it makes its way from pool to pool.

These were my initial thoughts on hearing Martin Küchen’s solo album, before seeing the cover image! I was pleased that my imagery at least resided in the proper class, mammalia. Küchen’s work had always connoted something extremely organic to me, combined with a strong sense of ground, of dirt and well-trodden floors. On “The Lie & The Orphanage”, he evokes both of those sensations in spades, grinding, wheezing, gutturally rumbling with extreme corporeality and determination, eliciting sounds that, even in this age of post-saxophonic exploration, are startlingly new. Much more importantly, they read as true, as deeply felt expostulations, all building to the astonishingly visceral, multi-tracked finale. Strong, vital work.

Brian Olewnick –

“The Lie & the orphanage” (Mathka)
Av: Thomas Millroth
Ett soloalbum på baryton och altsax + litet annat. Küchen skapar från start ett rullande, pulserande, trampande sound som känns allt otåligare.
Klangen är dov, nästan hotfull, eller osäker, som om han sökte efter ljudkombinationer han visserligen finner, men också bara delvis snuddar vid. Jag kan tänka mig att det även är idén. Att inte fastna i sina egna svallvågor. Att inte få sista ordet.
Hans musik porlar och rinner framåt, men den är också vass och kantig, snittytorna i musiken får den att välla fram. Nya bitar fogas ihop.
Albumet framstår för mig som en reflexion över lögnens makt över vårt språk och våra liv. Hur vi fogas in i sammanhang som kanske inte alls är sanna. Och hur historien också väller in över oss, då den lyckas bryta de fördämningar som byggts upp. Hela Europa är fyllt. Se bara hur de centraleuropeiska staterna åter fyller parlament och folks sinnen med rasism och självgodhet. Det är berättelser som sett ut på ett vis då det passade och ett annat senare. Här ryms existentiella val. Som också blir t ex en familjs historia.
Küchen berättar om sin tyske far, som ”var den ende i familjen som slagits på Hitlers sida”, han berättar om fånglägren för de tyska soldaterna, men antyder även en annan historia, de allierades övergrepp. Då rör han sig med denna parallell också i musiken mot såriga områden i minne och känslor. Han river sig ner genom sårskorporna. Och jag minns vad min egen far berättade om död, val, motstånd. I holländska motståndsrörelsen genomförde han under kriget ett bombdåd mot tyska officerare. Bomben exploderade, men vad han inte visste var att tysk trupp var nära, han kom undan bara för att se hur de grep alla civila och avrättade dem. Då han berättat detta teg han och vägrade någonsin mer beröra ämnet. Det finns så mycket lögner kring allt detta, ensidigheter som också skär rakt in i vår egen historia idag. Hos mig lika väl som Martin Küchen.
Det alkemiska undret är hur denna såriga variga historia om död liv lögn förvandlas till en tät flödande, litet hackig musik som spänner mellan sårkanter och bandage, som öppnar ljudrum där det bara är att gå in och vistas, fascinerad. Det är mycket rituellt, pockande, maniskt, sökande.
Han har alltså en anledning att lägga denna solomusik tätt inpå. Strukturer, variationer, klanger är inte enbart för skojs skull. Likt ett språk måste de behandlas och betraktas. Instrumentet snittar upp väven – av lögner, av föreställningar, av val – och öppnar för nya strukturer. Att pröva på.
Uppgiften är grannlaga och frågan är ju också om musiken inte bara är angelägen utan också en angelägenhet.
Den har passion, längtan, kärlek, kåthet, sorg, smärta, ja, allt men uttryckt på ett vis fjärran från alla klichéer (= fibrerna i lögnväven). Maniskt pulserande mitt i extasen har Martin Küchens spel vad som förr brukade kallas duende. Öronen och tankarna släpper inte denna musik i första taget.