Austrian composer and trombonist Radu Malfatti is among the leaders in redefining the avant-garde as truly on-the-edge art. Abandoning most improvisational music as too regulated, Malfatti has pushed the boundaries of composition into the realms of long reams of silence.
Malfatti was born in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1943 and played jazz in Amsterdam and Aachen. He moved to London in 1972 where he worked with many esteemed musicians in the jazz and improv scene among them Elton Dean’s Ninesense and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath. Meanwhile, he formed Nicra with Nick Evans. During this time and his travels and recordings through Europe during the 1980s, he began to tire of conventional improvisation and the rules that seemed to govern it. Malfatti’s idea of moving beyond conventional improv was realized in the 1993 piece “Die Temperatur Der Bedeutung” for solo trombone. The piece, slightly over half-an-hour in length, consists solely of short blasts of trombones in between long periods of silences. In 1994, he joined the Wandelweiser Group located in Berlin. An ensemble of composers and performers interested in integrating silence as major facets of musical works, Malfatti seemed to fit right in. However, his collaboration with the group was rather short. In 1997, he released Beinhaltung with analog keyboardist Thomas Lehn and violinist Phil Durrnat. In 1998 the trio released a live recording, Dach.