TWIRLS is the name of the duo that Berlin based saxophonist Alexander Beierbach and pianist Nicolas Schulze from Potsdam have been working with since 2018. The duo regularly expands its lineup in collaboration with other musicians and artists of different genres, like in the ma-Ensemble with dancers Michal Hirsch (Israel) and Yuko Matsuyama (Japan) or in the project Laut.ma.le.rei, with Turkish illustrator Ceren Oykut.
The TWIRLS QUARTET was born out of such a collaboration. Together with Meinrad Kneer on double bass and Yorgos Dimitriadis on drums, two of the busiest musicians on the Berlin jazz and improvisation scene, a formation has emerged that casts the duo’s distinct sound in a new light. In May 2022, with the support of the Berlin Senate, the debut Tides & Shadows was recorded at Emil Berliner Studio and unites the duo and the quartet as a double album.
In the quartet’s improvisations as well as the duo’s free dialogues, the instrumentalists explore a landscape of sounds and textures nourished by diverse musical backgrounds. Rooted in free improvisation, the TWIRLS DUO’s playing also contains references to the polyphonic melodies of the Baroque era and influences from contemporary music. In the TWIRLS QUARTET, the classic roles of the individual instruments and the diverse possibilities of playing together as a collective are constantly being redefined. The musicians interweave different levels of density and space and superimpose melodic-harmonic interplay with high-contrast sound sequences. The music follows a flow of repetitive themes and motifs that sound, are discarded and picked up again at unexpected points.
Both line-ups on Tides & Shadows have a dark yet extremely transparent sound, which Guy Sternberg captured congenially for the double album. The cover is a wonderful painting by artist Özgür Yılmaz, whose imagery reflects the complexity of the music of both the TWIRLS DUO and the TWIRLS QUARTET.