, Bill Meyer


If you set about explaining Die Enttäuschung in its native language, you might fairly plead, “Es ist kompliziert.” Not because the Berlin-based combo (whose name translates as “The Disappointment”) plays complicated music, although it’s true that sometimes the band does. There’s plenty of complexity in Die Enttäuschung’s emulations and extensions of bebop’s twists and turns, which the group reconciles with extended instrumental techniques, rhythmic displacements and sometimes-jarring sonorities of freely improvised music.
But there’s a much bigger paradox at work involving the operation of time itself. Clarinetist Rudi Mahall, trumpeter Axel Dörner, bassist Jan Roder and drummer Michael Griener (a relative newcomer who joined in 2017, although his musical relationships with the rest of the band go back decades) deftly manage the conflicting concepts of timekeeping that separate bebop, early free jazz and free improvisation. But they have also aced the arguably more challenging feat of remaining creative while doing the same thing for nearly three decades.
The 18-track Die Komplette Enttäuschung provides a great opportunity to consider both phenomena. Technically, it’s not an album, but a catalog that surveys the visual artwork that Katja Mahall has contributed to the band throughout its existence. The soft-cover book contains a few recent action photos of the ensemble in concert, as well as images of the collages she has provided to each of Die Enttäuschung’s album covers, as well as a few more that have adorned associated projects. Each of her pieces is a garishly colored, riotously overstimulating array of German kitsch, sometimes organized over roughly painted backdrops. While photos of the musicians appear in nearly every one, the players tend to be dwarfed by old vehicles, fatty foodstuffs and glamorous society types from days gone by. Katja Mahall’s artwork conveys both an acute awareness of Die Enttäuschung’s relatively insignificance vis-à-vis German popular culture and the wry humor that infuses the band’s music. [Two Nineteen]
-Bill Meyer

Jazzpodium, Adam Olschewski

Die Enttäuschung, Die Komplette Enttäuschung (Two Nineteen)

Diesmal macht besonders das Booklet die Musik. Wobei: Es ist kein Booklet, eher eine DIN-A4-Broschüre, die es quer zu blättern gilt und die wohl so ziemlich alles an der wilden, doch nie unbedachten Collagierkunst versammelt, was sich Katia Mahall für Die Enttäuschung erdacht hat.
Also vor allem für die Labels Intakt und Two Nineteen, aber auch ein paar andere. Es gibt darin ebenfalls ein paar Fotos der Band in Aktion auf der Bühne und eins, wo Rudi Mahall ein Kunstobjekt aus dem Haus trägt, und eins mit Katja Mahall vor der Staffelei.
Die CD ist auf der letzten Broschürenseite aufgeklebt, doch es geht leicht, den Kleber zu lösen und die CD zu befreien, so dass man dann ein doppeltes, in der einen Hand ein grafisches und in der anderen ein musikalisches Kunstwerk hält.
Der CD-Titel ist natürlich lustig gemeint, denn es ist dann streng-genommen doch nur eine weitere Großtat dieses von Normen weitgehend befreit aufspielenden Quartetts aus Rudi Mahall, cl, Axel Dörner, t, Jan Roder, b, und Michael Griener, dr, nicht aber irgendein Subsumieren. 18 Stücke. Kein Fremdmaterial; alle Bandleute mehr oder weniger die Komponisten. (Zwischenfrage: Ist Jan Roder zum ersten Mal in der Bandgeschichte am E-Bass?)
Wir haben Die Enttäuschung mit der Titelgeschichte im August/September-Heft dieses Jahres ausgiebig gelobt - zuvor war das Quartett (gemeinsam mit Alexander von Schlippenbach) mit »Monk's Casino« Platte des Monats.
Wer diese gelenkige, angriffslustige und hochmoderne, aber stets aus einem Erbe heraus kommende Musik bisher zu besuchen versäumt hat, sollte es bitte bald tun. Sonst war das Musikleben nicht richtig gelebt; hätte ich beinahe gesagt.

This time it's the booklet that makes the music. Actually, it's not a booklet at all, but a DIN A4 brochure that you have to flip through and that contains pretty much all the wild, but never thoughtless collage art that Katja Mahall came up with for Die Enttäuschung.
Mostly for the labels Intakt and Two Nineteen, but also for some others. There are also a few photos of the band in action on stage, and one of Rudi Mahall carrying an art object out of the house, and one of Katja Mahall in front of her easel.
The CD is glued to the last page of the booklet, but it's easy to remove the glue and free the CD, so you have a double, a graphic artwork in one hand and a musical artwork in the other.
The title of the CD is meant to be funny, of course, because strictly speaking it is just another great achievement of this quartet of Rudi Mahall, cl, Axel Dörner, t, Jan Roder, b, and Michael Griener, dr, who play largely unconstrained by conventions, but not by any kind of subsumption. 18 pieces. No external material; all band members are more or less the composers. (Interposed question: Is this the first time in the band's history that Jan Roder plays electric bass?)
In the August/September issue of this year we praised "Die Enttäuschung" extensively with the cover story - before that the quartet was record of the month (together with Alexander von Schlippenbach) with "Monk's Casino".
Anyone who has missed this agile, lively and ultra-modern music, which is always rooted in tradition, should do so soon. Otherwise, one's musical life is not really lived, I might almost say.


booking/contact: janroder[at]web[dot]de