Some bands play beautiful, intense concerts, take a bow and go home – and there are
bands that open doors, stop time and inscribe themselves in the audience’s memory with
a clear attitude. Schnellertollermeier are one of these bands. Anyone who has
experienced them live will agree, and anyone who tries to describe their music usually
uses adjectives such as overwhelming, minimalist, brutal, precise, monumental, angry,
controlled, captivating or radical. Bassist Andi Schnellmann, guitarist Manuel Troller, and
drummer David Meier succeed in uniting these contradictions and bringing them into a
new, restless order.
Their concerts are energetic discharges from the voltage field between modern
composition and free improvisation, and behind the doors opened by the band there are
new, uncharted landscapes of minimal music, avant-garde and electronic influences,
endowed with borrowings from Krautrock and the directness of Punk. This has been
making waves since the release of their debut “Holz” in 2008, with the audience being
glued to the wall, and Julian Cowley of WIRE magazine suspects telepathic magic behind
the three Swiss musicians’ clairvoyant interplay. This isn’t a concept being melodized.
This is pure music flowing, which has its own will.
It seems that the three musicians are not concerned with the management of their egos,
the optimal marketability of their output or the general well-being of their listeners, but
rather with the abolition of hierarchies. The traditional balance of power between drums,
bass and guitar is consequently abolished by Schnellertollermeier. Thus the guitar takes
over the role of the drums as the melodic, sharp-edged centre of the rhythm section in
some places, while the drums themselves apparently follow their own plan. The bass
merges inseparably with the frequencies of its neighbours, or becomes the main
polyphonic actor, so that one can no longer say where which instrument ends and when
which begins. There are no solos, but closely interlocked, high-energy arcs full of the
desire to escalate instead. In their most intoxicating moments, the band sounds like one
big drum machine, built from human parts that do what computers just can’t do: taking
risks, developing their own logic, suggesting unexpected turns.
The three Swiss guys have consistently followed this path through their four previous
albums, and have thus earned themselves a firm place on international festival stages,
from Europe to Japan, England, China, Canada, USA, India and Russia.