Carl Ludwig Hübsch / Phil Minton – Metal Breath


1. Copper (24:04)
2. Zinc And Blood (32:45)
3. Flesh (3:26)


· Carl Ludwig Hübsch: tuba
· Phil Minton: voice


All music by Carl Ludwig Hübsch & Phil Minton (GEMA)
Recorded live at ORT, Wuppertal, Germany on 15/6/2016
Mixed and mastered by Reinhard Kobialka at Topaz Studio Cologne
Drawings by Geoffrey Winston
Photo by Ingrid Hoberg
Graphic design by László Szakács
Special thanks to Ina and Emmerich Hörmann


Released: March 2018 / first edition of 300 cds
Direct purchase: Bandcamp / Discogs






“Tokratna oddaja bo predstavila navezo nemškega tubista Carla Ludwiga Hübscha in angleškega vokalista Phila Mintona. Domačemu občinstvu sta oba že poznana, tako z valov vam ljubih 89,3, kot z odrov, oziroma vrtov domačih krajev. Tako Mintona kot Hübscha smo v preteklih dveh letih namreč lahko slišali v prestolnici. Podobna priložnost pa se ponuja že 8. marca, ko bosta v okviru skupne turneje natopila v klubu Gromka. Duo je sicer pred kratkim pri založbi inexhaustible editions izdal ploščo Metal Breath, ki je tudi povod za skupno karavano. Album, ki je bil posnet studijsko v juniju 2016, prinaša sadove mimobežnih, a večletnih sodelovanj. Tako Hübsch kot Minton, sta gospoda z žlahtnimi izkušnjami, Minton pa je pravzaprav eden od veteranov improvizirane glasbe. In vse to se odraža na ploščku Metal Breath. Če bi morda pomislili na iztrošenost, zastarelost ali zakrknjenost, nas pričujoči album ne bi mogel bolj zbosti. Tako Hübsch kot Minton sta še kako živa in agilna. Hübsch, sicer v Abrahamovih letih, ki pogosto prinesejo nove valove refleksij in uvidov, prav navdušuje s svojo prisotnostjo in eksaktnostjo. Medtem ko se Mintonu lahko pravzaprav samo čudimo. Gospod, ki pri skoraj 80-ih letih izvaja, grdo rečeno – vokalne akrobacije, na nivoju olimpijk Medvedjeve in Zagitove, z izraznostjo in zrelostjo izvédenca ter predvsem popotnika, ki ne odneha. Tako na albumu lahko slišimo celo paleto razširjenih tehnik, dobro ugnezdenih v repertoarju Hübscha in Mintona. A naj nas te ne zavedejo, saj je plošček v osrčju izraz njiju, njunega odnosa, njunih prepletanj in razpletanj, njunih osebnosti, poigravanj in težênj. Dva polurna seta s krajšim dodatkom razkrijeta tako vrhunske začetke, kot izjemne stike z vmesnimi ushanitvami. Kažeta na dvojec v iskanju, vsak na svojih tirnicah, ki pa še zdaleč niso zabetonirane in jih oba mojstra spretno krivita. Kako tečejo v tej kovani resničnosti je pravzaprav vprašanje, ki se zastavlja med poslušanjem. Med izzivi in preprekami, podobnostmi in ujetostjo sta se našla današnja kovača Phil Minton in Carl Ludwig Hübsch Hübsch. Prisluhnimo.” / Ina Puntar, Radio Študent, 4 March 2018


“Nous voici au cœur de la fabrique «non idiomatique» la plus intense avec deux artistes qui vont chercher les sons inouïs à la limite du possible et dans la pure poésie. Carl Ludwig Hübschnous donne à entendre les bruissements les plus fous des entrailles de son tuba faisant exploser l’air dans les tuyaux, vibrer les infra-graves et le pavillon en écho aux égosillements les plus hallucinants qui existent, les sifflements, chuintements, harmoniques surréelles, pressions de l’air dans un larynx parleur d’un Phil Minton intarissable… Comme dans d’autres duos mémorables avec Minton en compagnie de Sophie Agnel, Daunik Lazro ou Günter Christmann, une saveur toute spéciale se dégage dès la première écoute et vous envahit progressivement et irrésistiblement au fil des autres. Trois pièces de 24:04 (Copper), 32:45 (Zinc And Blood) et 3:26 (Flesh). La voix se contorsionne et se dédouble comme par magie superposant harmoniques, aspirations, phonèmes, gargouilis dans le même élan. Le tubiste renouvelle constamment ses effets en faisant éclater les timbres avec, entre autres, une anche plutôt qu’une embouchure, créant aussi plusieurs voix simultanées et rejoignant le registre fou du chanteur… Les congruences de leurs inventions se percutent, se complètent, se contredisent, s’unissent dans des instants imperméables à la raison. Inexhaustible Editions est un label basé à Ljubljana consacré à l’improvisation radicale. Il vient d’ajouter un numéro rare (10) à son catalogue, sans nul doute un des deux ou trois albums essentiels de ces dernières années. Un trésor à acquérir en priorité!” / Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, Orynx-improv’andsounds, 8 May 2018


“The work of both gentlemen can be mainly found on stage and not always on sound carriers, so you don’t see them a lot in Vital Weekly. Of note however is that Carl Ludwig Hübsch, player of the tuba, was reviewed before when he had a couple of releases with Dutch voice artist Jaap Blonk. Here Hübsch teams up also with a voice artist, the legendary Phil Minton. It is a live recording made in June 2016 in Germany. The music was later on mixed but I am not sure what that means in cases like this, as this seems to me a pretty straightforward live recording. Maybe there has been some editing? It doesn’t sound like it, and some microphones picked up all that was happening on stage. This is some hardcore improvisation, musically speaking. Obviously, I should add, as this is the territory since for these gentlemen. They do what they do best, and that is getting into a dialogue with sounds. Sounds they produce with their mouths; pure in the case of Minton or out of series of tubes, but the way Hübsch plays the tuba isn’t always what one thinks of the sound of tuba. And yes, sometimes it very much does actually. He blows, drums, plucks the instrument, and Minton has a wide area of techniques to add to this. Moaning, screaming, whistling, whispering, sighing and who knows what else. Sometimes Minton leads Hübsch, and sometimes it is vice versa. There seems to me a perfect balance the two players, going from short, hectic passages to lengthy excursions of quiet contemplation; sometimes they oppose each other and dare each other in their playing. At sixty-one minutes this is lengthy yet most rewarding journey.” / Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, 15 May 2018


“Zugegeben, ich bin ja insgeheim schon ein großer Fan von Phil Minton. Dieses über die Jahre unterschiedlichst strapazierte Verhältnis hat klarerweise seine Hochs und Tiefs. Den ersteren Extremwerten zugehörig sind die kleineren und mittleren Ensembles, in denen die Singularität des britischen Vokaltänzers besonders zur Geltung kommt. Das seit einigen Jahren zusammen mit dem/meinem Turntable-Kollegen dieb13 bestehende Duo gibt da eine besonders gelungene, weil sehr intime und wendige Variante ab. Ähnlich intensiv und dennoch unaufgeregt pendeln sich auch die hier live im “Ort”/Wuppertal gemachten Aufnahmen Mintons zusammen mit dem Tubisten Carl Ludwig Hübsch zwischen Beinahe-Stillstand und heftigen Eruptionen ein. Die direkte (Minton) und die verlängerte (Hübsch) Stimme kreisen um ein paar überschaubare Fixpunkte und verlassen mehr unvorher- als vorhersehbar temporäre Beinahe-Wohlfühloasen. Ein dennoch allgegenwärtiger Stoizismus liefert wertvolle Botschaften für eine kurzatmige, auf den schnellen Effekt geeichte Welt.” / Wolfgang Fuchs, freiStil, Juli/August 2018


“Latest release from Slovenian label Inexhaustible Editions is Metal Breath, featuring Carl Ludwig Hübsch and Phil Minton. László Juhász runs this label from out of his own matchbox and seemingly only publishes music that he personally would like to see set forth in the world, which is a very decent attitude to have. One high benchmark of his taste was the uncanny double CD set called Bakers Of The Lost Future from 2016, mainly because it was such a sprawling mass of hard-to-process sounds made by larger-than-life players, from a meeting of said players in real life, and event that is surprisingly hard to repeat. ¹

With Metal Breath, we’re back to something more intimate and close-up, all-acoustic, and produced by the continual tuba puffings of Hübsch and the unearthly voice wailings of Minton, the English veteran/maverick who remains impossible to fit within any musical genre in a tidy fashion. We’ve mostly heard Hübsch in a trio with Pierre-Yves Martel and Philip Zoubek, for years a shining example of extended techniques and constrained, minimal music generation. Minton has recently yawped with Joëlle Léandre playing her contrabasse at his elbow on a Fou Records release; perhaps his work is best showcased in these small duo settings, one instrument plus one voice for best effect. This release contains two very long pieces, ‘Copper’ at 24 mins and ‘Zinc And Blood’ at nearly 33 mins. Those titles are pretty “elemental” for sure. They make me think of the human system and whatever medical supplements I might need, such as a copper bracelet or zinc tablets, to supplement my diet and keep the ravages of senility at bay. The short three-minute piece ‘Flesh’ which completes the disc may confirm my theory that the subtext or theme is simply the frailty of the human anatomy, so Metal Breath is more than just a description of the players and their respective skillsets.

The two long pieces are sort-of pitched at two different speeds, with ‘Copper’ amounting to a slow despairing moan and the Zinc-Blood piece emerging at an urgent tilt with exasperated burbling and yodels from the mighty Minton mouth, while Hübsch parps out the brass-improv equivalent of speed-metal riffs. Indeed ‘Zinc And Blood’ is the one to spin if you want to delve deeply into the raw guts of humankind and learn some primal messages about what needs to be settled, achieved and accomplished before the sun sets on our glorious life. On it, Minton shows he can do the “weird” throat-singing drone with far more panache and facility than Ghédalia Tazartès, even; Tazartès may sometimes over-use that effect, dare I say it, just so he can continue to project his “shamanic” image to the audience, whereas our man Minton has no such axe to grind. In fact Minton’s sheer versatility was brought home to me when I got my ears wrapped around the Solid Gold Cadillac LP from 1972, that unusual rock-jazz hybrid he made with Mike Westbrook et al. It seemed uncharacteristic to me, because he sings songs on it. But all of that drama and variety is still in his music today, just wordless and more abstract.

Lastly, I also like Ingrid Hoberg’s photo inside this release – tilted horizon, primitive drawing on a poster on the wall behind the duo – but mostly for the image of Minton crammed into the right-hand side of the image such that we really only see his torso and head. His head is tilted back and his face looks like an agonised turtle dreaming of being an eagle.

¹ By “hard to repeat”, I suppose I mean that any event that involves co-ordinating a lot of busy people is a logistical challenge.” / Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector, 1 January 2019


“The inquiry made in a game of 20 questions is quite often ‘is it animal, plant, or mineral?’ While the duo of Carl Ludwig Hubsch and Phil Minton suggest an answer of mineral plus animal with their title Metal Breath, I’m quite convinced they also deal with a plant element in this live duo recording from 2016 at Ort in Wuppertal, Germany.

The duo format may be the preferred setting to hear both of these artists. Hübsch’s tuba, although heard in large ensembles like Alexander von Schlippenbach’s Globe Unity Orchestra, Ensemble X, and Multiple Joyce Orchestra, is best heard in smaller, more intimate settings. He has developed a sound beyond his instrument, much like Axel Dörner and Peter Evans have done with the trumpet. Speaking of beyond, vocalist Phil Minton has expanded what we understand the human voice is capable of. This octogenarian may be the most idiosyncratic vocalist, dare we say improviser, on any instrument working in free improvisation.

The pair find pleasant patterns with which to work in these two lengthy and one brief performances. Breathy horn sounds are matched by stuttering gargles, which are countered with percussive knocks on brass and plaintive exhalations. How is it that Minton has so many voices and modes of expression? He can whistle, hum, chortle, vocalize and vocal-ease. But then, so can Hübsch.” / Mark Corroto, All About Jazz, 3 September 2019





· Razširjamo Obzorja at Radio Študent, Ljubljana, 4 March 2018
· Idealna Godba at Radio Študent, Ljubljana, 17 June 2018
· No Wave at Tilos Rádió, Budapest, 26 August 2018
· Moacrealsloa at Radio Panik, Brussels, 3 December 2019
· DJ Grafiti at Radio Študent, Ljubljana, 8 February 2020