Studio Dan

Globe Unity: Austria


All about jazz 93, Kurt Gottschalk, 2010-01-01

Maybe there’s something in the Austrian water. Or maybe it’s in the Wiener Schnitzel. The nation’s population is just about equal to that of New York City, but it boasts Mozart, Haydn and Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg and Webern among its favorite sons. More recent explorers include Gunther Mueller, Burkhard Stangl, Fennesz and the artists under review here. The small republic has a rich tradition of intelligence and innovation. (…)

Literary references are to be found in the liner notes, if not the music, of Daniel Riegler’s Creatures & Other Stuff. Tom Gsteiger’s essay mimics (and is dedicated to) David Foster Wallace, the late American novelist whose writing comes fast, long-winded and from all directions. Wallace is a fitting totem for Studio Dan, a young, 18-person-strong composers’ orchestra. With half the band contributing compositions, there are more than enough vantage points swirling around. Riegler’s “Creatures” occupies the first of the two discs, an eight-section romp that is unpredictable without trying too hard. There’s a bit of circus and theater and a lot of fun, modern big band music. The second half, featuring the other composers, is necessarily more eclectic, pushing at the seams a bit more with some raggedy cabaret, edgier electric pieces, epic attacks and piano laments.