CD review: Judith Wegmann

First published in the Guardian on 3 August, 2017

Judith Wegmann: Le Souffle du Temps
Wegmann (HatHut)

Judith Wegmann, a Swiss jazz improviser and classical pianist, makes beguiling sounds on a prepared piano. This album of improvisations inhabits a spangly, half-lit world of forlorn voices and jittery winged beasts. The name translates as ‘the breath of time’; the subtitle, slightly laborious, is ‘X (rétro-) perspectives’. What I like is how elusive the playing is, meticulous but still indefinable. Characters appear and flit around without any sense of hurry — there’s a grace to the aimlessness. Muted strings twang and clatter gently like a ghostly production line while lonely tunes meander through the din. There is a recurring impression of bells tolling somewhere in the near distance. For me the most satisfying moments are when the sounds go deepest, clangiest and most consonant: the moments when Wegmann appears the least precious and the most gutsy.