- Though best known as an Innervisions-associated house producer, Henrik Schwarz is also a veteran of challenging, cross-genre experimentation. He has, for instance, worked with the Berlin State Ballet and helms an electronic jazz trio. At times, that eclectic impulse bleeds brilliantly into his club sets. Late last year, at the Innervisions party at Warehouse Project, he took a daring mid-set detour into a poignant version of his sparse, piano-led house track "Jon." It was thrilling—as if Nils Frahm had gatecrashed a peak-hour club set.
Instruments is a project that's more grand but less interesting. Several years ago, Schwarz created classical arrangements of his tracks, which have been performed by ensembles in several different cities, and now recorded with the Tokyo Secret Orchestra. It is, at a surface level, epic music. The volleys of martial drums that suddenly interrupt the romantic sweep of "Cloud Three" are undeniably dramatic. "Marvin Two" fizzes with giddy excitement. But such tracks are fairly generic in their film soundtrack tropes, failing to open new dimensions in Schwarz's music.
The pieces on which the orchestra mimics dance music's propulsion and digitised loops are fun, but in the briefly interesting way of any novelty. "I Exist Because Of You" or "Leave My Head Alone Brain Seven" hurtle along at warp speed, the players furiously bowing and blowing through their complex patterns.
Fundamentally, this is nothing new. Orchestras have always tied themselves in knots over complex arrangements and minimalist composers have used musicians to create highly mechanical, repetitive music for decades. But the intent is often more serious than it appears to be here. Those feats were in the service of spiritual gravitas and high art. Instruments, on the other hand, sounds like a pleasantly nerdy but ultimately frivolous technical challenge.
01. Walk Music Four
02. Marvin Two
03. Leave My Head Alone Brain Seven
04. In Björndal
05. Cloud Three
07. I Exist Because of You Two