Otis Sandsjö & Niklas Wandt – Compagni di Merende (Album)

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Kryptox label member Niklas Wandt comes with his second vinyl release on the German jazz-tronica label. The German DJ, drummer, producer and radio host is by now one of the key figures in everything wild that’s coming from Berlin these days: His jazz stuff on Kryptox is just one of his many sonic faces. He is the head of German indie-pop band Neuzeitliche Bodenbeläge as well good friend of Jan Schulte aka Bufiman – and know for several collabos with him.

Now Wandt comes up with what could be his most advanced release. A free-jazz album recorded with Swedish saxophonist Otis Sandsjö. And it might sound strange to some, but Berlin is becoming a international center of free improvisation. It makes sense as the city has been the center of techno for years – the music that is extremely formalistic and all about repetition and standard sounds and grooves. Free jazz is the extreme opposite to that formalistic tool music of the last years. No wonder a lot of people start to get into the improvisation mood in 2022.

Otis and Niklas Wandt met at a now defunct bar in Neukölln that hosted improvised concerts almost every night of the week. Wandt had just moved to Berlin and was ready for action. Watching Otis play a trio with Liz Kosack, Dan Peter Sundland and an array of flickering bulbs, he was fascinated at once by the all-out intensity of his playing. As an improviser, Wandt “always sensed a particularly strong connection with saxophonists, specifically tenorists“ as he said.
So the two expat musicians hooked up and started to jam and later record this material.

A lot of activity in different genres and scenes is between these recordings and the immediate present. Otis has released some highly original and truly genre-bending music with Y-Otis, Koma Saxo and Lucia Cadotsch’s Speak Low and Wandt has been fortunate enough to travel a bit with various bands and later, in times of the global pandemic, to produce a lot of electronic music in his studio. But now the time is ready, and so Kryptox can finally release this very special album.