Kirsch / Hein / Ditzner – NERVOUS

Kirsch / Hein / Ditzner
CD fixcel 16
Rel. 06/2019

Stephan Kirsch, tb / electric tb
Nicola Hein, e-gt / effects
Erwin Ditzner, dr / perc

Release: June, 06th 2019
Recorded: 11th October 2017, Kleine Audiowelt, Sandhausen
Recording + Master: Tobias Schirrmann
Linernotes: Martin Laurentius
Photography & Layout: Frank Schindelbeck

Linernotes by Martin Laurentius

Between Worlds

I propose something unusual: listen to the last track of this album first. Why, you will now ask: Don’t I anticipate the dissolution when I enter the album of this trio with trombonist Stephan Kirsch, guitarist Nicola Hein and drummer Erwin Ditzner with the last piece? I can reassure you: That is not so. Because with this last track, which was originally supposed to be called “Soundcheck” but is now entitled “Repeating”, I want to demonstrate that the impulse to get into a piece of freely improvised music does not have to be strong; more than that, it is more of a chance product.

Towards the end of the studio session with these three improvisational musicians, a string broke on the guitarist Hein. That can happen, you can say now, that is not unusual. But first of all this “mishap” interrupts the flow of play of the three: A new string has to be strung up, the guitar has to be tuned, while the other two instrumentalists are silent. But now it becomes interesting: this interruption and the tuning become the impulse for a piece of a good 15 minutes with free musical improvisation.

All of this is the starting point for a wide arc in which Kirsch, Hein and Ditzner intuitively create a “Wall of Sound” deep in the flow. Repetitive patterns are rhythmically and thematically varied and changed almost imperceptibly. Kirsch, Hein and Ditzner layer them like brick on brick and charge them with energy – only to stand at the end in front of a massive and loud wall that has been given structure and form exclusively by the different sound events of the three instrumentalists before. And now you can also imagine that both names have their justification for this piece: “Soundcheck” refers to the nucleus for the improvisational process, while “Repeating” describes the inner-musical path in one word.

Basically this trio has no bandleader. But the fact that they met for a session in the studio is due to the initiative of Stephan Kirsch. A while ago, the mid-forties got to know the drummer Erwin Ditzner from Ludwigshafen, a good ten years older, and later he met the guitarist Nicola Hein, about ten years younger, in Mainz. And Kirsch’s wish to work with these two musicians soon became reality: they met for a day in the studio for a recording session for the album “Nervous”, which is now available.

The constellation for this trio is easily explained. On the one hand, there is Ditzner, who originally dug deep into the history of (Afro)American music as a band member of the Mannheim Mardi Gras BB, but who now, as a drummer, instinctively acts not only at the interface of, but exactly between, concrete beat and shimmering pulsation. On the other hand, Hein, who is actually one generation younger, no longer sees his electric guitar as a musical instrument alone. For him, it is rather a chisel with which he hammers his sound sculptures in the acoustic studio. Right in the middle of it all is Kirsch, who, with the trombone, is the catalyst and driving belt for the two extremes, directing and limiting the free play of the creative forces of this trio. For it is equally true for all three that “real” freedom in music needs boundaries and guidance as friction surfaces to ignite the fire of imagination in the actors.

Surely, free improvised music can be experienced best and most easily as a live experience. On site you can see how inspiration can be the impetus for a long improvisational process and hear how improvised music is actually created at the exact moment. How different it is with “recorded music”. The studio session of the musicians will also become a memory of this creative moment for you. The recording is, so to speak, “frozen” time, which you thaw the moment you hear the album “Nervous” by this trio. Only then do you realize that the two short and three long pieces are closely linked together as a suite and that the improvisational music of trombonist Stephan Kirsch, guitarist Nicola Hein and drummer Erwin Ditzner is thus given form and structure in the first place – despite all the freedom.


Georg Spindler in the Mannheimer Morgen about the CD “Nervous” by Kirsch / Hein / Ditzner on May 31, 2019 under the title “Adventure trip to the end of the world

“The opening piece “Awakening” resembles a concentrated charge of pure energy: sound splinters and rhythm particles swirl wildly in an explosive eruption: trombone sizzles, cymbal hisses, guitar clangs.”

“But the trio Kirsch/Hein/Ditzner can also do quite differently: the 15-minute “Thinking” (freely improvised like all the pieces on the record) begins “balladesquely” so to speak: with slowed-down reaction patterns in slow motion. Here the trombone sounds at first enraptured and thoughtful, electronic reverb effects give it a mysterious aura. Kirsch intones phrases that sound like questions.”

Through such unpredictable changes and dramatic mood swings, this trio never ceases to amaze. This is also true in “Repeating”, the final highlight of the record. Here, the electronically alienated and doubled trombone delivers a “beat” with undulating echoes, which Ditzner plays around with powerfully swirling sequences of beats, while Hein’s guitar revels in rocking psychedelic distorted sounds.