Astounding: Stammering syllabels uttered by an aluminum spoon orchestra with lingual titubation.
Jair-Röhm Parker Wells’ mighty “AMDG” was a collossal and colourful work, which seemed to tap the potential of its defining parameters to the full and nevertheless could still have gone on after the last note had died down. Now, in a sense, it has. The Wild-West pseudonym of „3banditos“ delicately covers up the name of Wells and two of his spiritual compatriots:,Tobias Schmitt and Tommi Bucalic, both hailing from Frankfurt, Germany. Their spontaneous trialogues on “sympathy for the donkey” not only rely on the same instrumentation as well as on improvisation as the main creative mode, but also result in quite astoundingly similar structures – a remarkable achievement considering the unique status “AMDG” has in my record collection.
The easiest explanation would naturally be to award Jair-Röhm the status of the pivotal force behind the new album. That, however, would be an overly simplifying conclusion, led by the wrong assumption that the end result of an artistic process must, of necessity, tell us something about its genesis – a train of thought championed even by experienced music journalist, which unfortunately does not make it any better. In fact, in this particular case, the jazzy bass lines and tender touches of fender rhodes keys played with mufflers come courtesy of Bucalic and it is therefore him, if anyone at all, who put his stamp on the record. It is the surprising and unexpected moments that a sustained seventh comes in or a soulfully streetwise lick runs through the brushwood of criss-crossing effects, spluttering and stammering syllabels uttered by an aluminum spoon orchestra with lingual titubation as well as fields of delay and supercollider breakdowns. Bukalic seems to bring order to the creative process, while his fellows take their electronic devices into a mode of permanent errors. Naturally, that, too, is a misconception.
The 3banditos were born on stage, as a live project which saw the physical/digital medium as a mere opportunity for communicating with those unable to attend a concert in person. Even though “sympathy for the donkey” was recorded in a studio, this must be attributed to the forces of chance rather than a cognitive plan or a subliminal message, and at its core lie no abstractions (as its sound material may suggest), but a continuing fascination for the possibilities of the jam: You can hear the fun that has gone into this record, the playful interaction between the actors and the way they wander through fields of incoherence in search for that one note which will suddenly bind everything together. On many occasions, they find it with astounding precision.
Much more than on “AMDG”, which came across more as a “fixed” opus, this album invites the listener to enjoy the process of converging and diverging, of feeling one’s way towards someone else, who in turn may be feeling his way towards something entirely different. Naturally, this may be confusing at times, especially since there are no liner notes to tell us about the individual motivations and possible agreements between the musicians at the outset. That, on the other hand, will only make you look deeper into the heart of “sympathy for the donkey”, tracing all of the intricate details which turn it into something entirely it’s own, instead of a mere copy.