The Squid's Ear Magazine

Koch, Hans / Christine Abdelnour: FFlair (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Born from a project from the "Jazz in Chur" association where Swiss jazz musicians team up with a musical partner from a country with a different language and cultural region, here between Swiss saxophonist Hans Koch and Lebanese saxophonist Christine Abdelnour, the two recording their half of the duo independently, joined in the studio and split left & right for a stunning and unanticipated collaboration.

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product information:

UPC: 752156104827

Label: ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd
Catalog ID: ezz-thetics 1046
Squidco Product Code: 33577

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Hans Koch recorded in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland on January 5th, 2023.

Christine Abdelnour recorded in Pau, France, on January 5th, 2023, by Ryan Kernoa.


Hans Koch-soprano saxophone

Christine Abdelnour-alto saxophone

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Swiss jazz musicians get together with a musical partner and compose, improvise and produce a duet together. The duo partners come from different language and cultural regions. The works are produced independently by the artists, recorded and introduced with a short conversation. In it, the listeners encounter the creation of the piece and the working conditions in the different lives of the two musicians."-JAZZCHUR_EXILE website

"The alto meanders just above the ground, stoically mapping the topography of the terrain, while the soprano joins in like a bird, prancing and inviting its counterpart to a pas de deux. It is initially a cautious probing, as if neither is yet sure that they want to enter into a dialogue with the other. As a result, they cautiously approach each other, ensnare each other, perform pirouettes. At times the alto gains altitude, explores the sound of the soprano from a bird's-eye view, then-after a brief synchronicity-the game begins anew with the roles reversed. An aerial dance in four parts, during which the two protagonists develop a flair for each other and juggle with the states of aggregation.

Basically, we witness an intimate dialogue between two improvisers. If there had not been a special circumstance leading to this result. Christine Abdelnour and Hans Koch could not hear each other. In fact, "FFlair" is based on two separately recorded solo improvisations, which were superimposed at the end. Mind you, without any subsequent editing.

If you ask yourself now, how in God's name can this lead to such a homogeneous result? To a dialogue that is immensely seductive in its fragile intimacy-despite the demands it makes on its listeners? And which, up to the last minute, follows a dramaturgy that would actually only be possible if both musicians had shared one and the same space during the improvisation?

Is the result an "accident"? Or should we call it a coincidence? If we consider that an accident is an unintended event, while coincidence describes an unexpected event, we could answer yes and no in both cases.

Before we delve further into this question, here are some facts about the origins of this album: The association "Jazz in Chur" is pursuing an exciting project with "JAZZCHUR_EXILE", in which Swiss jazz musicians team up with a musical partner for a duet. The duo partners each come from different language and cultural regions. The works are produced and recorded independently by the artists.

When Hans Koch was asked by "Jazz in Chur" for this project, it was quickly clear to him that he would ask Christine Abdelnour for this project. The two have known each other for a long time. Although they have only played together very rarely, both have followed the development of each other's musical language very closely over the years.

Both Koch and Abdelnour are among the most distinguished improvisers of the contemporary era. Koch (1948, Switzerland) caused a worldwide sensation for 30 years with the hardcore chamber music trio Koch-Schütz-Studer, while Abdelnour (1974, Lebanon), who lives in France, has consistently pursued her musical path for more than 25 years in changing formations. Both hold their instruments close to their hearts because they are based on the most fundamental thing humans need to live: Our breath.

"The mouth is like the door of the body. It is a peaceful cavity surrounded with complex ways. It opens and closes a cycle of roads. It is not a question of expelling our air and emptiness, but crossing it in the body," Abdelnour once told British music magazine The Wire (issue 344, October 2012).

So back to our question how-under the circumstances mentioned-such an impressive result was possible at all? If we exclude "accident" and coincidence, we inevitably end up in those realms where John Coltrane pursued a path into the unknown in his last years. Wasn't it Bob Dylan who once said that he didn't write songs? They were all already there, he just had to catch them like butterflies.

"FFlair"-already in the title of this album all the possible explanations seem to be hidden: the awareness-by constantly breathing in and out-that we live, that we exist. But there is also air that we take in. And in this air sounds are hidden, which become audible to others through us. Christine Abdelnour and Hans Koch may have recorded their solo improvisations at different times in different places on this earth. But maybe they were both in this invisible world at the same time at the same place ... and caught butterflies together.

The writer of these lines could keep on trying to describe the magic of "FFlair" in words. He would end up like Sisyphus, caught in an endless spiral of verbal improvisation. Let him therefore evade and leave the last word to none other than Plato: Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."-Rudolf Amstutz, June 2023

Get additional information at Jazzchur JAZZCHUR_EXILE page

Artist Biographies

"Hans Koch plays bass clarinet and soprano saxophone. He has played alongside of musicians such as Cecil Taylor, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Paul Lovens, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips, Phil Minton, Peter Kowald, Hans Reichel, Tom Cora, Jim O'Rourke, Fennesz, Elliott Sharp, Anthony Coleman, DJ M. Singe, Voicecrack, Günter Müller, Jean-Marc Montera, and Joëlle Léandre in Europe, America, and Asia-and still managed to maintain his association with the Koch-Schütz-Studer Trio. He has put out compact discs on various labels." (Dame, Ambiances Magnetiques) (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Born in 1978, Christine lives in France but is of Lebanese origin. After discovering improvised music in 1997 she began a process of self-taught study and sound experimentation using the alto saxophone.

She has developed a unique personal language, producing sounds that are close to those of electroacoustic music but on a purely acoustic instrument.

She approaches sound as a malleable material, rich in concrete textures which combine breath, silence and countless acoustic distortions. She has developed extended techniques and complex patterns of sound production, exploring the microtonal aspects of the saxophone and its high-pitched tones. She employs subtle tonguing techniques, unpitched breaths, spittle-flecked growls, biting, slicing notes and breathy echoing sounds from the bell of her horn. Far from any narrative effects, her music addresses the relation between listening and concepts of perception, time and space.

Solo Artist and involved in international tours with Andy Moor, Magda Mayas, Pascal Battus, Andrea Neumann, Bonnie Jones, Raymond Strid, Sven- Ake Johansson, Chris Corsano, Mazen Kerbaj and many more. She has released more than ten cds and has collaborated with visual art, dance, literature, poetry, as well as projects with noise, electronics, rock or free jazz."

-Christine Abdelnour Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. FFlair I 09:45

2. FFlair II 10:08

3. FFlair III 16:55

4. FFlair IV 07:13

Related Categories of Interest:

Hat Art
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electroacoustic Composition
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Duo Recordings
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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