05: Carl Ludwig Hübsch

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German tubist, composer and bandleader Carl-Ludwig Hübsch.

What happens if you give a tuba to a teenage punk-rock drummer? Well, if it was Carl Ludwig Huebsch, it set him off on two paths which he pursued simultaneously, playing the tuba in a traditional community brass band, doing german oompah folk music by day and playing in rock bands with his pals at night.  Like with so many other young rock musicians, Frank Zappa proved to be a gateway drug to more serious musical activity.  When Carl-Ludwig eventually arrived at the world of free jazz and free improvisation, he found a context in which his two threads could combine and bear many glorious fruits. In his solo tuba playing, he not only plays the instrument expertly in the traditional manner, but explores its material nature to the full, treating it sometimes as a percussion instrument, striking and stroking it with various objects, as well as finding new ways to put air through it: with saxophone mouthpieces or no mouthpiece, hissing, moaning, singing.  And as a composer and bandleader, his contrary tastes for order and anarchy have lead him to create situations where musicians can follow instructions and rebel, cooperate and go off on their own. The nature of musical communications has been an explicit concern of his.

Music excerpted on this podcast:

  • Ross 780 and Kashmir from Der erste Bericht (1977)  CD on In + Out Records (Freiburg). Solo tuba and voice.
  • NGC 22671 Hades B from Carl Ludwig Hübsch’s Primordial Soup (2007) CD on Red Toucan Records (Montréal) by C L Hübsch, with C. L. Hübsch (tuba), Axel Dörner (trumpet), Frank Gratkowski (reeds) and Michael Griener (drums, percussion).
  • doppler metal mare from Metal in Wonderland (2014) CD on Unit Records (Köln). composition by C. L. Hubsch. Hübsch Acht is Carl Ludwig Hübsch (tuba), Isabelle Duthoit (clarinet), Joris Rühl (clarinet), Matthias Schubert (saxophone), Wolter Wierbos (trombone), Philip Zoubek (piano), Joker Nies (electronics) and Christian Lillinger (drums).

Carl-Ludwig also sent me a revised English translation of his score for ‘Rowetor’, the piece that we discussed in the episode. It was performed by him and me and the SFSound group, at the Center for New Music in San Francisco,  in April 2015. It’s a work in progress, but he gave me permission to post a few paragraphs from it to give a flavor of it:


The whole piece consists of „one sound“ which shall not be interrupted.
The sound „goes“ nowhere. It may take some development but however, any development is being perceived/played like focussing on a partial of the whole, just like a finger represents a body, even a personality. 
  1. wait  2. listen  3. play        do nothing, let all be.
The static of the sound is a way to listen to the playing.
So, be open for a change of perspective, to reveal aspects of the sound, to go along with a changing focus, to let aspects reveal themselves. Such, „changes“ can happen, but they will never be forced. If they do happen, you have to be ready for them. Even quick shifts are possible.So keep highest alert within greatest immersion.
The piece can not be interrupted. Even one single instrument can keep it going (in an extreme case even silence) and thus deliver continuity. 
Nothing that happens is without meaning.
Don´t fade in. Be clear about your volume before(!) you come in. Don´t readjust. Come in with a clear imagination, projection of your sound, your dynamic.
 … etc …
wait  2. listen  3. play