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the temperature dropped again  Leo Records LR 390


Dietrich Eichmann – piano
Jeff Arnal - percussion

Recorded at Hans-Rosbaud-Studio
Baden-Baden, Germany
December 6, 2002

the temperature dropped again is available online

• In Europe at Oaksmus
• in NYC at Downtown Music Gallery

From the booklet

There is a new generation of musicians with a bright look into the future who try out everything to create a new music and two of these new inventors are percussionist Jeff Arnal from New York City and pianist and composer Dietrich Eichmann from Old Berlin.

Jeff Arnal contributes a unique approach towards sculpting the form, focus, intensity and dynamic qualities of the music. The broad spectre of his capacity as an improviser may be underlined by the fact that he frequently shares the stage in a duet setting with one of the most spontaneous saxophonists of our time, Charles Gayle. A musician who seeks the challenge to play with Charles Gayle on the one hand and Dietrich Eichmann on the other must be a very special character. I hope to meet Jeff Arnal someday somwhere – the sooner the better!

In the eighties Dietrich Eichmann understood himself as a pure free improviser, as much as that is possible, of course, before he turned into a composer. Today he includes ideas he originally developed for his compositions in his playing which is freely improvised, but out of a different conciousness. He told me that he could not improvise the way he does today if he had not concentrated on compositional structures all the time before. Somehow Dietrich Eichmann works the opposite way of Portuguese flutist Carlos Bechegas who would choose the better parts of his free improvisations to 'compose' concerts and recordings while Dietrich has his compositional skills at hand while freely improvising. About both situations we could speak as forms of constructed improvisation.

In May 2002 Dietrich performed with The Straight Trio at the Improvised and Otherwise Festival of Sound and Formin Brooklyn, NY. Jeff is co-artistic director of this annual festival of experimental music, dance and multi-media work. During this visit the duet had their first musical meeting. At their second meeting in December of the same year they recorded at Hans-Rosbaud-Studio in Baden-Baden, Germany. Their wonderful music is entirely improvised although determined by the compositional ideas of both musicians. One day Dietrich told me the following: 'John, you're almost seventy and it's highest time you get serious', and I replied, 'You're right, Dietrich, let's produce a CD together'. Of course, there is another reason, too: Jeff and Dietrich have a lot to offer and it's right here for you!

- John 'Sugar Daddy' Rottiers

Selected Reviews

"A rare collaboration between a classical composer and a jazz/improv drummer. Arnal and Eichmann belong to a new generation of musicians and are definitely counted amongst the most versatile personalities in contemporary avant-garde music. This exciting encounter brings into being a unique dimension of music with fresh sounds of existential beauty. Their spontaneous improvisations tend to emerge as structures. Sometimes tense, sometimes dark and even disturbing, their music is always gripping." Leo Records

"My last encounter with Eichmann was as the composer of the weighty piano concerto "Entre Deux Guerres", written as a response to the unprecedented violence of 20th-century history; he is also composer of a concerto for Peter Brötzmann and twenty-piece orchestra with the equally formidable title "Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights". I'd not quite anticipated his lightness of touch as an improviser at the piano. The surface is tremulous, sometimes busy as a blackfly swarm; more often it's pointillist taps of a single note, like the proverbial crow dropping pebbles into a pitcher of water. Eichmann works inside the instrument for much of the album, and a lot of the real musical activity here occurs in the overtones, though his use of preparations and the manual damping and bending of notes is subtle, a far cry from the weird Dali soundscapes conjured up by players like Denman Maroney. Drummer Jeff Arnal, a protégé of Milford Graves, is similarly preoccupied with light, microscopic textures, rapid and evanescent. Like Eichmann he likes to tap quietly and insistently, like a sculptor gently chipping away at a block of marble. The album sounds fresh as paint." Nate Dorward, Paris Transatlantic

"A fine duet featuring two lesser-known but extremely talented players, the fine Brooklyn-based percussionist Arnal (who studied with Milford Graves) and the explosive pianist Eichmann (who studied with both Wolfgang Rihm and Alexander von Schlippenbach). Though their partnership isn't too long-standing, they play well together. "Swing dribble" is a nice study in contrast with Eichmann exploring the lower register and the timbre of prepared strings inside the piano as Arnal delicately delineates the outlines. Though the feel here is often thunderous, there are multiple details which convey the level of intelligence and sensitivity here. "Pendulum" also begins from delicate preparations or extended techniques (slashing inside-piano harpsichord effects) and ramps up. Eichmann dances nervously as Arnal generates a whirring drone sound - again, contrast is one of this duo's specialties. These pieces don't ramble on, much to the duo's credit (and this may also be adduced to their tendency to think in compositional terms, trimming the excess musical fat). Notice how patiently they trade lacerating sounds on the menacing "Bermuda Triangle Boat Trip". "La Meduse" has a claustrophobic quality to it, as well, enhanced by the insistent minimalism of Eichmann's pattern - a nice one. "Radio Set" begins very abstractly, though what's best about this piece is that they vary their dynamic approach and explore a single mode for the entirety of this performance. "Le Desir Froid" is a palette-cleansing blast of noise before the long final track. Overall, this is a contribution to an already existing "literature" - the post-Cecil piano/percussion duo - but it stands easily with some of the strongest entries.." Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine

"This piano and percussion duo offers a solid and imaginative hour of improvisation. Dietrich Eichmann's ideas of pacing, dynamic, and cadence inform the proceedings here, fully articulating the form while playing completely spontaneously. Likewise, Jeff Arnal, always walks the tightrope, playing instinctively and with great surprise in knotty dynamic situations. He understands the implicit directive that the music gives to play around his collaborator as much as through him. As the pieces unfold, there are wonderful surprises, disconcerting moments, and, of course, eternal movement through the terrain of jazz, classical, and other musics that serve as touchstones for their joint creations." Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

"Part of what makes jazz unique is the interplay between the composed and improvised, an interplay compellingly explored in Dietrich Eichmann and Jeff Arnal's new CD The Temperature Dropped Again... Their intimacy with their instruments allows them to bring forth an array of fresh, unpredictable sounds; the music is alternately dissonant, meditative, industrial, lilting, explosive, and stark. In the first suite, "Pendulum" is a particularly lovely piece, simultaneously lyrical and free, and "Half Pint" works boldly with silence... They hold no particular limitations between music and sound; both are interested in dynamics and the use of space, and both explore the spare as well as the orchestral sides of their instruments. A playful element is at work as well; clearly they enjoy the process." Florence Wetzel, All About Jazz - New York

Artist Bios

DIETRICH EICHMANN is one of the most versatile personalities in contemporary avant-garde music. His compositions have been performed on international festivals by renowned ensembles, as a pi- anist and improviser he is actively involved in many international collaborations, and he has been organizing the oaksmus studio concert series in Berlin and the attached CD label for several years. His roots in jazz and improvised music combined with his radical aesthetic approach to musical composition result in the unmistakable language of an unusual spirit. His major ensemble works of the last years bear witness, at last his concerto for Peter Brötzmann and the Ensemble Modern "Prayer to the Unknown Gods of the People Without Rights". But also his work as an improvising pianist and ensemble leader are increasingly taken note of, which is documented in several releases on Leo Records and brokenresearch – besides releases of his compositions on Wergo and oaksmus.

“Percussionist JEFF ARNAL’s balletic sense of time and imaginative deployment of colour have combined into a highly original concept." (The Wire) Arnal frequently performs and collaborates with a wide range of musicians and choreographers in the U.S. and Europe. Recent performances include: Ausland (Berlin), deSingel (Antwerp), German Nordwestradio (Bremen), Hallwalls (Buffalo NY), Music at the Anthology (NYC) & Music Gallery (Toronto). He has received grants and fellowships from ASCAP, Brooklyn Arts Council, Meet the Composer and Art Omi International. His music can be heard on a number of independent record labels, including Transit (Clean Feed 2009 & 2005), Dog Day with Aaron Dugan (C3R 2007), Rogue States with Gordon Beeferman (Generate 2006), MEJA with Michael Evans (C3R 2006) and with Dietrich Eichmann (Broken Research 2007 & Leo 2004). Arnal holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Music Composition and Filmmaking from the University of Maryland and an MFA in Music from Bennington College.


Live in Hamburg: Eichmann & Arnal 2007 LP

Photo: DE / JA at Berlin Exploratorium 2009