Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Hashirigaki, Heiner Goebbels' music theatre tribut to The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, has long been one of my all-time Huddersfield highlights, so I keenly anticipated his improv debut there as a pianist. This is Goebbels' first improv tour in decades. Here, he is partnered by longtime collaborator Gianni Gebbia on baritone and sopranino saxophones, plus whistle and joke shop noises. Goebbels is dynamic on prepared piano, with impassioned slaps of sound; his laptop stutters with white noise, vocals and voices. This is carefuly prepared and structured improv, based on compositions by Hanns Eisler and others. A paradigm case of preparation for the spontaneous effort - but shouldn't that be the right description of all musical performance?

Andy Hamilton
The Wire (GB), 1 January 2020