photo: Maarten Kerkhof


Frank Gratkowski – clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone
Achim Kaufmann – piano
Wilbert de Joode – bass
Okkyung Lee – cello
Richard Barrett – electronics
Tony Buck – drums, percussion

As an improvising trio, Achim Kaufmann, Frank Gratkowski and Wilbert de Joode have been touring and performing internationally on a regular basis since 2002, while constantly developing, deepening and enriching their musical rapport now documented on four CDs.

In 2013, Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode  invited three of their favourite musicians to form a spectacular electro-acoustic sextet: SKEIN, which had its premiere at the dOeK Festival in Amsterdam and subsequently recorded live for SWR radio in Germany, later to be released on Leo Records.

Martin Schray ( wrote about this recording:

“Like huge flocks of birds flying in formations (SKEIN is therefore a perfect name for the band), they seem to have an invisible radar sending out signals which shows them what they have to do – it is intuitive understanding par excellence. (…) 
Schacht is like a mad and free expressionist dance consisting of a free jazz piano trio part and which takes a different shift when electronics and cello drop in. The tempo of the piece takes incredibly fast turns, the structures seem to glide from one part to the next– and all this is done effortlessly, out of the blue, as if it was the easiest thing to do. (...)
This is one of the best albums this year, it is music of an austere beauty, full of the energy and unpredictability of free jazz and the subtlety of new music textures. Or, as someone put it after the concert, when we were talking to the musicians: After five seconds I knew this would be a great concert. There’s nothing more to add.”

Achim Kaufmann lived in Amsterdam from 1996 to 2009 and now resides in Berlin.
Since the late 90s, he has been collaborating with reedist Michael Moore in various groups (trio kamosc, gueuledeloup quartet, duo Kaufmann/Moore). More recent (Berlin-based) groups include a trio with Okkyung Lee and Axel Dörner and grünen with bassist Robert Landfermann and drummer Christian Lillinger. Besides, he has performed and/or recorded with Jim Black (Trio kyrill), Mark Dresser, Han Bennink, Paul Lovens, George Lewis, and many more. He writes music, primarily for his own groups, but also for chamber ensembles such as the Vancouver-based Standing Wave ensemble.

Frank Gratkowski leads a quartet with Wolter Wierbos, Dieter Manderscheid, and Gerry Hemingway (and sometimes an extended version, a double quartet). He recorded duets with pianists Georg Graewe and Misha Mengelberg. Whereas his trio with Chris Brown and William Winant straddles the line between electroacoustic improvisation and contemporary chamber music,  the saxophone quartet Fo(u)r Alto explores the possibilities of microtonality. He is primarily active as a composer for the Cologne-based Multiple Joy[ce] Orchestra.

Wilbert de Joode is a member of some of the most significant groups in the Netherlands: the Ab Baars Trio, Fuhler-Bennink-de Joode, Corkestra, Eric Boeren Quartet, Apa Ini, and various bands led by pianist Michiel Braam.
He has also collaborated with Steve Lacy, Dennis Charles, Hamid Drake, Derek Bailey, William Parker, the Schlippenbach Trio, John Tchicai, Sunny Murray, Christine Sehnaoui, Barry Guy, Ken Vandermark, and many more.  He has taken part in a number of multidisciplinary projects, working with dance and film. 

A native of Korea and based in New York since 2000, Okkyung Lee has been developing her own voice in a contemporary cello performance, improvisation and composition for more than a decade. Without being bound to any specific genre or style, her unique blend of music is drawn out of classical, jazz, sounds, Korean traditional and pop music, noise with extended techniques. She has collaborated with John Butcher, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Keith Lowe, Wadada Leo Smith, among others, Her debut album was released on John Zorns Tzadik label.  More recent releases include a duo with Phil Minton, a trio with Peter Evans and Steve Beresford, and a trio with Evan Parker and Peter Evans.

Richard Barrett was born in Wales and is now based in Berlin. He is internationally active as both composer and improvising performer, and has collaborated with many leading performers in both areas, while developing works and ideas which increasingly leave behind the distinctions between them. His long-term collaborations include the electronic duo FURT which he formed with Paul Obermayer in 1986 (and its more recent octet version, fORCH), composing for and performing with the Elision contemporary music group since 1990, and regular appearances with the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble since 2003.

Tony Buck has been involved in a highly diverse array of projects but is probably best known around the world as a member of the trio The Necks.  Following studies and early experience in Australia, he spent time in Japan  before relocating to Europe in the mid-nineties.
Some of the groups he has been involved with include Peril with Otomo Yoshihide and Kato Hideki, Kletka Red, Corkestra, The Exiles, and The Ex. More recent projects include Glacial (David Watson, Lee Ranaldo),The Fell Clutch (Ned Rothenberg, Stomu Takeishi, David Tronzo), duos with Axel Dörner and Magda Mayas, and Transmit (a guitar driven post-rock project based in Sydney and Berlin).

SKEIN  : Leo Records : LR 708

„The music is very much like a chemical reaction as maybe seen from the inside. Sounds are discontinuous and fragmented; the decomposing anions and cations oscillate under their own electrostatic charges to form new links where they can, rather than where they are willed, until one must wonder if any of the equations will ever reach equilibrium.
This is a fine album of startlingly free improvisation. It's spectacular.“
Ken Cheetham – Jazz Views

“Improvisierte Musik in kompromissloser Form: Nichts ist hier von vordergründigem Effekt, nichts schielt nach Abgehobenheit, nichts ertrinkt in Routine – es ist verwegene, bissige Musik. Schonungslos ostentativ.”                    Hannes Schweiger - Freistil Magazin (A)