Get six gamblers to carry my coffin, six chorus girls to sing my song.
Put a jazz band on my tail gate, to raise hell as we go along.
("St. James Infirmary")
"to raise hell as we go along" represents a heartfelt homage to an epoch of great american music culture. For the first time in rant history, Merle Bennett on drums and Torsten Papenheim on guitar dedicate themselves to compositions of other musicians. Based on their fifteen years of experience as a duo, they have found a very unique expression and interpretation of selected jazz standards. Due to the interweaved and openminded playing of Bennett and Papenheim new aspects and characters where found in old tunes, rant dug deeply into the specific timbre of each song. Different from the collage-like forerunner "margo flux", rant decided to record everything in one take - without overdubs and samples. Apart from the layers of feedback in "work song" everything is played live and direct. rant meet themselves again in the new. And they unhinge time on "to raise hell as we go along".
Quotes from international press:
Guitarist Torsten Papenheim and drummer Merle Bennett are an experimental concern who have pushed duo dynamics into some strange and intriguing nooks and crannies in their decade and a half of existence. … “To Raise Hell…” doesn’t treat its sources in a slavishly reverential way and neither is it of the deconstructionist persuasion, but sets its place somewhere in the middle; a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ where astronomer and storybook heroine alike agree that everything is “just right”.
Steve Pescott, The Sound Projector, Großbritannien
„Put a jazz band on my tail gate to raise hell as we go along“ That's exactly what Papenheim and Bennett do – and yet not exactly. They are not raising hell, because they are far too relaxed. That makes this album the perfect 3 am listen consisting of standards that one thought to be worn out; like „In walked bud“ or „My favorite things“. The duo reduces these tunes down to an essence of which Monk or Coltrane never would have dreamed – the air of american music history drifting through these excentric interpretations would thrill people like Henry Kaiser, Jack White or Eugene Chadbourne.
Rolf Thomas, Jazzthing, Germany
In a wonderful manner, Bennett and Papenheim go around this famous material and uncover some unexpected facettes. They take the songs apart, peel the layers off and putting them back together again in a very uniquely authentic and yet eccentric way. While doing this, the duo stays serene. This bone dry minimalism wouldn't only delight a Marc Ribot.
Karl Gedlicka, Concerto, Austria
Torsten Papenheim and Merle Bennett present an album of „golden-oldie“ standards after releasing many projects of their own compositions and free improv. Besides the tune quoted in the album title you'll find songs like „Georgia on my mind“ as well as pieces by Ellington, Parker and Monk. The guitar accompanies itself without overdoing it in a chord-melody-acrobatic orgie. The arrangement are often ostentatiously sparse; the themes are often presented with single notes without without a bassnote or a chord. Sometimes the theme is radically deranged and put together in different bits and pieces. We encounter well known melodies like „Work Song“ and „In Your Own Sweet Way“ in a quite skeletton like form. rant also loves to take the tempo out of normally faster played tunes and hereby present entirely new approaches for the listener.
Florian Bissig, Jazz 'n' More, Switzerland
rant present themselves – like always – in their best light. Thanks to their lack of elistist behaviour and their absence of any self-conciousness, they have approached the great jazz songbook with a purpose, directly into its heart. The fact that the music is stripped down until it's almost unrecognizable is indeed the biggest charm of this special duo.
Andreas Fellinger, freiStil, Austria
Obviously, the two turned at the crossroad in the direction of the Diabolus in musica, who lured them in with wicked tones, satanic quaverings and Pan's jumps if their stripped down and crooked versions of jazzstandards is anything to go by. Automaticlly you fall into a paradise-lost mood of bittersweet melancholy and idiosyncratic defiance. This new album from rant is sweet, sentimental, with a bluesy a-devils-work-is-neverdone consciousness and less hope than a „Moorsoldat“. Papenheim and Bennett plug and tap incredibly sparse and contemplative music—you wouldn't think that it was possible. They are even able to peel more substance off these hackneyed oldies in order to present them in their purest form.
Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, Germany