Teichmann + Söhne’s »Flows« is not so much the result of a collaborative process as it is a process in itself. Over the course of nine pieces, the Gebrüder Teichmann—Andi and Hannes—and their father Uli repeatedly find common ground between the very different musical styles, sound aesthetics, and subcultural codes they have internalised throughout their lives. The source material out of which the album evolved was culled from several recordings of rehearsal sessions in preparation for the trio’s concerts that took place between the years 2012 and 2022. The three added only a few overdubs to those recordings but edited them rigorously to both preserve and transform the spirit of their unlikely collaboration. The combination of Uli’s background as a versatile jazz artist and multi-instrumentalist with his sons’ penchant for dub techniques, modular synthesis, and live sampling as well as their interest in electronic dance music take on ever-different shapes. »Flows,« released on the occasion of Uli’s 80th birthday, is as joyful, lively and free-spirited as its makers.
It took the three musicians decades to get together to jam. Uli and Lu, the mother of Andi and Hannes, ran the legendary Jazzclub Kneiting between 1978 and 1983 while he also made a name for himself as a musician who, besides jazz, is knowledgeable in a plethora of music styles from all over the world and has an instrument collection to match. Naturally, Andi and Hannes rebelled against this versatility by opting for simplicity. Already as pre-teens, they formed a punk band and once they got a whiff of the burgeoning techno scene, strayed even further from their father’s path. They eventually moved from their native Regensburg to Berlin where they made a name for themselves with a slew of releases on seminal labels like Disko B or Kompakt before starting to more regularly collaborate with musicians from the realms of Contemporary Music, Improv, and Sound Art. Even after Uli had finally contributed some saxophone licks to the brother’s 2011 »They Made Us Do It« LP, it indeed needed someone else to make them do it, i.e. finally get together to reconcile their musical differences in a creative way.
Finding out that the three had never performed together, Yoichi Osaki from Berlin’s iconic Miss Hecker venue, a focal point of the city’s so-called Echtzeitmusik (real-time music) and Improv scene, scheduled them to play their first concert on April 1, 2012. Even though the date was chosen deliberately, things got serious very quickly and this first joint concert proved to be the first of many. It also laid the foundation for »Flows« since the three would start recording their rehearsals. Revisiting the roughly 90 recordings, some of which clock in at a full hour, after ten years of playing with each other then started what Hannes describes as a »form-finding process.« It was a holistic one and involved all three of them, extending also to their choice of cover artwork, a piece created by Lu, who died in 2016 and to whom the album is dedicated. For the collage, she had used photos of the place where it all began, Regensburg, and the river that flows through it, the Danube. This made the piece, coincidentally created around the time Teichmann + Söhne started playing their first concerts together, correlate perfectly with the working process of the three musicians on a visual level.
Similarly, Teichmann + Söhne can be thought of as a human-musical collage. It is a meeting of three different musicians who all have in common that they have occupied alternative spaces and perfected a variety of musical styles and subcultural codes throughout their lives. When those flow into each other, this necessarily creates something that is as unique as the nine tracks collected on this album. While it is mostly Uli who takes the lead on pieces like the appropriately titled »Im Zwischen« (»In the Inbetween«), the brothers respond by live sampling his playing, thus serving as a creative interface between acoustic sounds and electronic responses. This in turn provides a framework in which Uli can improvise on a variety of acoustic instruments like the saxophone and the clarinet as well as a mandolin and glockenspiel or even percussion. This indeed makes their music flow—across different generations, between different musical ideas and genres, into previously uncharted territory.