Cyanobacteria & Hübsch

Are You an Orchid or a Dandelion?

(CD, 2019)


Released by Toxo Records






The Free Jazz Collective

Cyanobacteria & Hübsch - Are You an Orchid or a Dandelion? (Toxo Records, 2019) ****

Cyanobacteria & Hübsch - Are You an Orchid or a Dandelion? Review [ link ]
The liner notes describe the music as "music evoked from an underworld and only whispered to the surface", and this is actually quite an accurate description. Italian musicians Renato Grieco on drums and Francesco Gregoretti welcome German tuba player Carl Ludwig Hübsch for an otherworldly trio - or is it underworldly? - that produces the lightest of sounds from their heavy instruments, creating a sensation of organic growth and interaction.
Gregoretti is an avant-garde percussionist who has several bands with similar names: "Grizzly Imploded", "Strongly Imploded" and "Oddly Imploded" (with a recent album on Shhpuma). Renato Grieco's discography is more limited, with more releases as the sound engineer than as a musician, but in a context like this, that may be an advantage. Hübsch no longer needs introduction, appearing with his tuba and idiosyncratic view on music on more than 120 albums. 
The title of the album refers to a book by pediatrician Dr. Tom Boyce on education, starting from the premise "that some people are like dandelions - able to thrive in just about any environment. Others are more like orchids: when conditions are harsh, they tend to wilt. But when conditions are right, they actually do even better than their hardier peers". 
On the five tracks, they answer the question by presenting other flowers and plants, each with their own nature and complexity, showing that there is more to this world than stereotypes. 
Epiphyte  a plant that grows on another plant, especially one that is not parasitic
Calotropis is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family
Solanum is a large and diverse genus of flowering plants, which include three food crops of high economic impo ???/c??????Artance, the potato, the tomato and the eggplant
Camellia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae
Silene acaulis, known as moss campion or cushion pink, is a small mountain-dwelling wildflower that is common all over the high arctic and tundra in the higher mountains of Eurasia and North America
As mentioned in other albums on which Hübsch performs, the music could be the soundtrack of the undergrowth in tropical forests, slowly growing, unfolding, entertwining, branching in different directions, unpredictable yet without loosing its essence, giving cover to skittering critters and creatures. Like nature, music is endless, impossible to categorise or to fathom: it can only be experienced and savored.  This will not be for everyone's ears, but if you're open to uncommon sounds, there is a lot to enjoy here. (Stef)

Hardy Perennials

Italian percussionist Francesco Gregoretti last tapped our cowbells with his solo album Solid Layers, Deafening Shapes from 2016, an extremely heavy item where he made his kit groan and rattle in droney fashion. Expect more of similar action on his latest record, where he now teams up the double bass player Renato Grieco to form the duo Cyanobacteria. They're joined by a third entity, the mighty tuba-man Carl Ludwig Hübsch, without a doubt the go-to guy when a lower-register acoustic bone-shaker drone is needed.
The music on Are You An Orchid Or A Dandelion? (TOXO RECORDS TX07) is mostly produced by a series of slow, heaving motions, each player doing their best to drag black and turgid sounds from their instruments; plenty of solemn bass drums, doomy cymbals, scraped metal, scrapey bass, and profound puffy sighs of despair from the brass section. I like the way they cheerfully describe these instruments as "elephantine"; they proclaim they are aiming for something pretty basic and raw, never settling for a walk in the park with their dainty cousin from Flanders when they could be going two rounds in the ring with a heavy-set fisherman from Zeebrugge.
The title of the album refers to the work of child health expert W. Thomas Boyce, who made this distinction to help parents understand how "resilient" their children would be as they embarked on life's road. No prizes for guessing which side this trio align themselves with. I think this wildflower idea could spark a useful line of enquiry; I can think of at least three avant-garde musicians who we could characterise as cacti. From 28 June 2019. (Ed Pinsent)



Here's a duo called Cyanobacteria (From The Arabian Gulf, is what is added on the inside, but I have no idea if that is part of the name), consisting of Francesco Gregoretti (drums) and Renato Gricco (double bass), teaming up one day in September 2016 with Carl Ludwig Hübsch, a well- known improviser playing the tuba. The duo has a similar background, even when I only heard of Gregoretti before. The five tracks span fifty-two minutes and form an on-going exploration of ideas, textures and all of that within the world of improvisation. It is a meeting of like-minded people, with one foot in a more traditional field of the genre and one firmly planted in something newer. You can recognize each of the instruments pretty easily here, in all of these pieces, but at times they also sound like something completely different; especially the tuba has a dual role in this. Unlike some of the other releases on Toxo Records, this isn't as loud and noisy but with amplification and feedback, there are occasional hints towards that. There is some fine interaction between the players, leaving room for the other to act and react, and none of the players seems to downplay their own role in the overall sound. It is most of the time the sum of three equal parts playing the music and throughout it works very fine. It is mostly an intense listening experience, which doesn't allow any loss of concentration. Not on behalf of the players, nor the listeners. (FdW)


CYANOBACTERIA & HÜBSCH, Are You An Orchid Or A Dandelion?

Francesco Gregoretti e Renato Grieco sono i Cyanobacteria e da tempo sono tra i protagonisti del giro improv-noise dell'area napoletana, il secondo è anche dietro l'interessante festival La Digestion. Carl Ludwig Hübsch è un trombonista tedesco con una più che ventennale carriera alle spalle: numerosi i dischi fatti uscire assieme a tanti protagonisti della scena improv europea, da Jaap Blonk ad Axel Dörner. I tre se ne escono con un cd (pubblicato dalla Toxo Records dell'amico Mimmo Napolitano/_SEC) che è una sorta di testimonianza alien-jazz, ma come suonata da incalliti noiser con la fissa per i tempi dispari: "Epiphyte" parte subito in quarta e il mal di testa è dietro l'angolo (è un buon segno, sia chiaro#), "Solanum" è sorda processione rumoristica piuttosto inquietante, mentre "Camellia" risulta una prova ostica dove percussioni, contrabbasso e rumorismi sono un tutt'uno, e l'ascolto si fa sempre più una sfida. Le musiche composte dai tre restano difficili da decrittare, ma se siete arrivati a conoscere i loro progetti precedenti, allora saprete benissimo dove di solito vanno a parare; per altri poveri malcapitati invece saranno dolori per le orecchie. Ho il vago sospetto che sia proprio questo il loro (sadico) intento. (Maurizio Inchingoli)