SCHIMMER | Fleischer Magnússon Duo

Guitarist and composer Markus Fleischer is best known for his crossover projects: Schimmer is another, in collaboration with his former colleague, the Icelandic pianist Agnar Már Magnússon. However, this album is nonetheless very different from his previous recordings: here, the two sensitive and expressive musicians cleverly combine elements of jazz and improvisation with classical music, deliberately forgoing rigid structures and experimenting across what they amusingly call the “harmonischen Gemüsegarten” (harmonious vegetable garden).

To call this ten-track album chilled out is an understatement, above all in the second track, “Schimmer”, which ends with faintly dissonant droplets that echo out in surrounding silence. But on the whole, this is highly listenable, rhythmically balanced material: imagine Pat Metheny slowed down and everything stripped back to just gentle piano and guitar.

The jazz classic “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” closes the album in a very lovely, if also quite typical “rubato dinner jazz” style. There are other less well-known covers, too, including Bill Frisell’s “Strange Meeting” which has had all the jumpy quirkiness removed and replaced with a longing melancholy.

With any fusion album, it’s difficult to know the exact audience for whom this intended. Experiencing this music live would probably be the best option, since the music needs such space to breathe. The recording quality is fine but there’s a limit to how much variety you can get on a recording of just piano and guitar (there’s some funkier Wurlitzer in the track 7, “False Relation”, and track 9, “Taunus Offenbarung”). Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood to chill out, and you’ll find some surprises along the way.

Schimmer is released on 11 October 2019.

The Prickle - About transp