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Überfall - Nr. 3 CD (album) cover

NR. 3

Überfall

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars 4.5 stars really!

After releasing two outstanding records that shined out of the 80s like a beacon of musical hope, Uberfall returned with their third album, simply called Nr. 3. It was hard to imagine that Markus Stauss and Pit Kayser could come up with something even better than previously, but that's exactly what they did. This album marks the peak of Uberfall's creative process, which is the case probably in no small degree due to the fact that the two previous albums laid the groundworks.

The album is made up of two sides (LP), which create quite a different impression. The first side is lyrical and exhibits their talents for sarcasm and great melody. In particular popular music takes a pounding here, as Uberfall carefully take it apart, bit by bit, so that they essentially end up with far better "dancing tunes" than pop performers. They also tackle the lyrical aspect. The words are overly optimistic and naturally full of sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek. The second side is purely instrumental and shows Uberfall as great melodic players, improvizers and composers. In terms of musical ecstasy this second side offers a bit more, but the album is at its most effective as a unity, when the contrast between both sides can be felt.

So what makes Nr. 3 so special? Perhaps it's simply the fact that everything came together and clicked on this one, when there still seemed to be some room for improvement earlier. Maybe both Stauss and Kayser matured as composers and the entire ensemble matured in their arranging and playing abilities, often denying themselves the pleasure of improvisational bliss for the good of the composition. That's exactly what shines here ? the "engineered" compositions, expertly crafted into flawless wholes, where the music flows effortlessly, but still follows a consistent train of thought. Therefore you basically have a very structured piece of work, which still retains a sense of fun and general craziness, so often exhibited by Stauss and whatever teammates he chooses. In a sense, you often get improvisations which seem composed and composed parts which seem improvised. Composition and improvisation have become inseparable partners,which fill the veins of one another, so that we can't tell them apart. This is due to the fact that the music seems to come effortlessly from these men, oozing from their veins onto their musical canvas, without any preconceptions about the sound of the finished work.

Uberfall are best when their music is filled with a sense of sarcasm. This isn't only due to the lyrics, which often convey a feeling of "taking a piss" out of the mainstream scene (not only musical), but their music displays this ambiguity just as convincingly, often through the use of over-the-top happy tunes, combined with really dark avantgarde passages and bursts of jazz-rock. Their music gives you everything on this effort ? it makes you laugh, think and consider which universe these guys came from, apparently finding a totally fresh approach and sound.

It was as if Uberfall had known what kind of record they were making. Not only did they grace us with their skills, but some exceptional guest musicians made their presence felt as well. Stauss got a fellow saxophone player, the violine sometimes chimes in with its gentle caress and another feature attraction is Stauss's friend Jean Chaine, who shows off his virtuosic bass skills. These addition give the album added weight and thus an unbeatable album in their discography was created.

For anyone who thought the 80s and early 90s were a dead zone for trully forward-thinking music, look no further than Uberfall and their one-of-a-kind album Nr. 3. Sure, they paved the way with their two previous albums, but this is the one where everything really comes together in a string of brilliant, yet lighthearted compositions. If I were to look for a place where the genius of Markus Stauss starts (with help from mostly Kayser), then it should be with this record.

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Send comments to maribor (BETA) | Report this review (#284852)
Posted Friday, June 04, 2010 | Review Permalink

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