Thomas Lehn













Phil Minton • voice
Axel Dörner • trumpet
Thomas Lehn • analogue synthesizer

TOOT photo b/w

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'In TOOT, founded in May 1998, we find the singing legend Phil Minton and the almost one generation younger Axel Dörner, trumpet, and Thomas Lehn, analogue synthesizer - at present two of the most in demand German musicians in the field of contemporary improvised music.'

Electroacoustic music in the word by word sense, improvised with a sense for the unequal timelyness of density and emptiness, performed as dialectic of tension and release. Very largely, this micro micro music', writes the Cologne music journalist Felix Klopotek about the music of TOOT, a trio in which the spectacular British vocal artist Phil Minton meets two musicians of the recent generation of the German improvied music scene. Axel Dörner, born 1964, began his musical career with the piano study, before he changed to the trumpet at the beginning of the 90's. Since he moved to Berlin in 1994, he is as one of the most in demand trumpeter in Germany involved in an immense number of most different projects. Rooted in his background of being an interpreting and improvising pianist since many years, since the beginning 90ies Thomas Lehn works in the field of live electronic music using analogue synthesizers from the late sixties, which allow a direct access to the elements of the electronic sound synthesis and an extremely spontaneous interacting. Phil Minton began his artistic career first as trumpeter already in the middle of the 60's in the orchestra of Mike Westbrook, however soon appeared as vocalist and one of the expression-strongest and most famous improvisors of the European scene.

Since with the upcoming of Free Jazz in the sixties the musical sound was been expanded among other things into the field noise, the musicians thereby operated also a 'cult of the intensity'. This is not to be found in its original pure form in TOOT, appears however break-through-transcended, as a temporary, needle-eye-expressionistic contrast settings, embedded in the environment of sensitive and fragile creations of sounds of three musicians, whose individual creations of sound merge into one another and thus hardly are to be perceived still as voice, trumpet or synthesizer.

Nearly inaudible music streams through the real time-composed textures: air breaths out of a trumpet without forming a tone, and from a mouth, which gives stridulatory, groaning, hissing, howling, bubbling sounds of itself. Minton, the miracle of voice, can immitate each noise of its colleagues, also those 20 Hz tones and other sound substances of Lehns analogue synthesizer, whose electronic sounds are able to bridge the contradiction between technology and nature.

Like coincidentally developing rhythms disappear fast again in the nothing. The poetry of this music lies in its fragility....



one | two



released March 2nd, 2005 on Norwegian label SOFA  | sofa 518 | discogs | bandcamp

track listing  

1. AR? (31:18)
2. EL? (4:23)
3. AH? (6:16)
4. MA? (12:41)

All tracks recorded by Thomas Lehn, edited and mastered by Axel Dörner and Thomas Lehn.
Track 1 recorded on November 13th, 2003 at Jazz D'Or Festival, Auditorium du Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France.
Track 2 & 3 recorded on January 23rd, 2003 at Grasland, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Track 4 recorded on January 25th, 2003, OCCII, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Cover design by Håkon Kornstad.

liner notes
by Sven-Åke Johansson :

I'm just reading «Maigret und der geheimnisvolle Kapitän» (Les Portes des Brumes, 1931), the plot is set somewhere out on the Breton coast, Quistreham or so; a sluice, gloomy rusty steamers, and a sailor's pub almost steadily veiled by fog; the characters of the drama communicate and find their ways by sounds which become plastic by the steady dampness; the visibility is poor.

Sometimes the beam of the lighthouse rotates shortly into the world of sounds, uncapable to bring light into the drama! Does Dorner's, Minton's and Lehn's «TOOT» perhaps mean the scarcely perceptible foghorn far out off the mole? They find their ways (almost) without help from any means of the repertoire of the «music's language», sometimes groping forward cautiously, but then - with knowledge of and familiarity with the other's soundsigns - again find a firmly closed common direction in the «dark». Great spaces are forming, expanses in the music, distances by means of various volumes, perceptible, firmly determinable smaller spaces by means of reverbaration!

After a while of listening the picture of a small foggy seaport is appearing, a plastic space with corners and angles, heights and rotten dangerous gangplanks - a sharply drawn story, full of suspense.

(English translation by Wulf Teichmann)



released in 2008 on British label another timbre | at14 | discogs | bandcamp

track listing  

1. ling (26:52)
2. klagen (27:22)

Track 1 recorded June 15th 2008 at Stadtbücherei, Esslingen, Germany.
Track 2 recorded May 24th 2005 at Künstlerhaus/Innenhofkultur, Klagenfurt, Austria.
All tracks recorded, mixed and mastered by Thomas Lehn.
Cover photo by Axel Dörner.
Thanks to Renate Luxemburger, Stadtbücherei Esslingen and Raimund Spöck.





TOOT consists of three improv stalwarts – vocalist Phil Minton, trumpeter Axel Dörner and analogue synthesizer wiz Thomas Lehn. Unique tooters all, together they find common ground by colliding at full tilt, backing off and taking another run at each other. These bursts of activity, initiated by a trumpet rasp, synth wave, or hiccup and squeal, congeal into vignettes that blossom or simply evaporate – outrageous dreamlike accidents that annoy or tickle the ear. Yet there are moments when, bolstered by spitfire synth squalls and vaporous brass, Minton's wheezes and groans evoke a near Shakespearean portrait of flawed, vexed humanity.

- The Wire 

All three gentleman belong to the absolute finest in improvised in Europe, having played with almost anyone on the scene. The four captured live moments here show these qualities very well. Each piece is a highly dynamic affair, ranging from the subtle moments with lots of silence (which seem to be in a majority here) to more louder and upfront outbursts of energy. Certainly not 'easy' stuff, since whatever they do is beyond any form of traditional playing and requiresd ones full attention. But it will be rewarded by the beauty of it requires.

- Frans de Waard | Vital Weekly 



Phil Minton

Axel Dörner

Thomas Lehn



Press photos 

toot_gr_s.jpg © Gérard Rouy 300dpi / 2362 x 1575px / 1.3MB
© anonymous 300dpi / 1710 x 1192px / 104KB
© Ute Pinter 300dpi / 1716x1186px / 148KB   



Tour Period Fall 2023 

Sun. 5 – Sun. 12 November 2023

Sun. November 5, --- OPEN ---  
Mon. November 6, --- OPEN ---  
Tue. November 7, --- OPEN ---  
Wed. November 8, --- OPEN ---  
Thu. November 9, --- OPEN ---  
Fri. November 10, --- OPEN ---  
Sat. November 11, --- OPEN ---  
Sun. November 12, --- OPEN ---  

Please contact us for booking.

updated on January 6, 2023