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Jazz, World
  • Max Clouth
  • Martin Standke
    drums, samples
  • Paul Janoschka
  • Vroni Frisch
  • —–
  • auch als Septett buchbar mit
  • Kabuki
    modular synthesizer
  • Adam Woodward
  • Sophie-Justine Herr
Booking-territory: worldwide apart from India

Frankfurt – Mumbai, loops and ragas, electronics, jazz and a pinch of Krautrock. Ragawerk stretch new strings between Europe and the Indian subcontinent – and play them with virtuosity. The project of Max Clouth and Martin Standke develops driving grooves, cosmic sound panoramas and profound meditations. Fluid sounds meet edgy beats, space-opening guitar sounds float above the electronic hatchings of a modular synthesizer. Indian and Western sound elements merge into a unique fusion. The band’s roots in jazz remain unmistakable. Indian ragas and European-influenced jazz craft become Ragawerk.

On their travels through Germany and India, Ragawerk have already played at jazz festivals in Brandenburg, Frankfurt and Delhi and have been guests at the Goethe Institutes in Chennai, Trivandrum and Hyderabad.



Max Clouth

Max Clouth knows the rules. After studying jazz guitar at the Hochschule für Musik Mainz and the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden, he went to India. He lived in Mumbai for three years and studied music there, immersing himself deeply in the country, its traditions and sounds. In 2017, Max Clouth received the Frankfurt Jazz Scholarship – the jazz prize of the city of Frankfurt.

Martin Standke

Martin Standke was awarded the Hessian Jazz Prize in 2016 with the “Contrast Trio”. While Max Clouth writes film music in addition to his freelance work, Martin Standke is musically and artistically involved in productions as a percussionist at Schauspiel Frankfurt and Münchner Kammerspiele. He studied music at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt and at the Musikhochschule Köln, majoring in jazz percussion. Clouth and Standke have been working together musically since they first met in 2012. Ragawerk is the result of this inspiring friendship.

Vroni Frisch

Vroni Frisch is a bassist, composer and arranger from Mainz. She studied jazz electric bass and composition at the University of Music there and works as a freelance musician. Stylistically, she is active in various genres: from pop/hip-hop live or in the studio for MINE, Fatoni, Edgar Wasser and Leopold, among others, to improvised rock with the legendary Krautrock band Space Debris and jazz in various formations. As a bassist and arranger, she has worked with Sebastian Sternal, Ramesh Shotam, Susan Weinert, Frederik Köster and others. She also writes her own music and works as a lecturer and band coach. The fact that every note that is played gives the listener the feeling that it was meant exactly that way – that is the standard she sets for herself and the music she composes and plays. She has recently become a member of Ragawerk.

Paul Janoschka

Paul Janoschka is a graduate of the Mannheim University of Music (BA). He recently returned to Germany after spending the last two years at New York City College, where he completed his Master’s degree with Fred Harsch and Kevin Hays and was a much sought-after pianist in various bands on the jazz scene there. In addition to his studies, he used his time abroad to work on new compositions, researching a sound that moves within the modern jazz context and is influenced by hip-hop, impressionism and new music. His intensive period of study in the New York music scene brought him closer to both the jazz tradition and his own style.


“The production is epic and left me looking for concert dates in the UK.”
BBC Music Magazine

“Clouth’s Guitar sets off on endless runs around the melody, halfway between comes the Mahavishnu Orchestra and full-on prog rock. Das Modul regals Nik Bartsch Ronin at their most pitiless, (…) Standke’s drums anticipating the beat, Clouth’s guitar sliding like a veena.” The Financial Times

“The music is spacey and oftentimes pretty and is ultimately something of a cross between the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the Pat Metheny Group and the Krautrock minimalism of German guitarist and ex-Ash Ra Tempel leader Manuel Göttsching in the 1980s.” All About Jazz

“ (…) seamlessly weaves Indian and jazz melodies, plus hypnotic synth lines. “
Rolling Stone India

“Standke’s Rhythm’s lurch between drum and bass (“Nature Of The Self”) funk in 7/4 (“Das Modul”) and industrial techno (“Theta Wave”), but the real focus is on guitarist Clouth, who moves between McgLaughlin-style pyrotechnics, smooth jazz, hypnotic minimalism and U2 style “hands free” solos.” Uncut UK

“Ragawerk really seduce you into their secret arcane world – they are full of enticement and their sonic palate is wide and extremely colourful. A refreshing and in parts, deeply meditative and soulful edifying to say the very least.” Blues & Soul Magazine UK


Press Germany:

” (…) it is always a great pleasure to listen to Max Clouth playing his amazing two-necked guitar and his discreet, precisely conceived and executed hand and electronic sound variations.” Frankfurter Rundschau

“With an effective furor, the quartet Ragawerk around guitarist Max Clouth as well as Georg Boeßner, keyboards, Peter Puskas, bass, and Martin Standke, drums, pursues a sparking jazz fusion with Indian infusion.” Frankfurter Rundschau

“[…] the short album is like a much needed injection of energy in a dark winter.” Jazz thing 137

” … driving, beat-heavy pieces (…) but also gentle evocations …” Jazzthing

“What Clouth and Standke serve us here […] has artistic maturity and emotional depth. Intense hypnotic grooves, improvisations you can sink into, varied guitar sounds and always surprising colors, […] a musical experience for open minds.” Jazzthetik


Incendiary Guitar And Drum Duo To Release Eponymous Debut Album

Ragawerk is the new project and album by two of Frankfurt’s most exciting musicians – guitarist Max Clouth and drummer Martin Standke. The duo have created a distinctive blend of Indian inspired loops and ragas with subtle electronics, modern jazz and a pinch of Krautrock. Indian and Western elements merge into a unique fusion that organically cultivates an engaging, one of a kind sound that not only encapsulates the best of contemporary jazz, but also projects nuances of prog-rock, ethereal cinematic qualities and strong elements of Indian raga. The result is the eponymously titled Ragawerk album, set to take the international music scene by storm in September this year.

The blend of musical cultures that Ragawerk presents is based on a simple, coherent principle: Ragas are a centuries-old concept from Indian music. They are basic melodic structures traditionally linked to specific moods or times of day. Technically speaking, they are scales, and here lies the interface to jazz: Raga music, like Jazz, is scale-based. A raga can be improvised with as if it were a scale, and chords or beats can be placed underneath it. “It’s a way of improvising that opens up a whole other world again,” says Martin Standke. “Some of our pieces are based on Ragas,” says Max Clouth, “but they are so immersed in our band sound that you don ́t even think of that at first. We take the Raga and put it in our context, we don’t always stick to all the traditional guidelines, and this is what defines our music.” “You have to know the rules, only then are you allowed to break them. That’s how development works.” adds Martin Standke.

After studying jazz guitar at the Hochschule für Musik Mainz and the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden, Max Clouth travelled to India, living in Mumbai for three years, immersing himself deeply in the country, its traditions and sounds. In 2017, Max Clouth received the Frankfurt Jazz Scholarship – the jazz prize of the city of Frankfurt. Martin Standke was awarded the Hessian Jazz Prize a year earlier with the “Contrast Trio”. The duo have been working together musically since they first met in 2012 and Ragawerk is the result of this inspiring friendship.

Ragawerk have toured extensively in Germany and India, performing at Jazzfest Brandenburg, Palmengarten Jazz Festival Frankfurt, Giants of Jazz Festival Delhi and the Goethe Institutes in Chennai, Trivandrum and Hyderabad, Moreover, Clouth’s trademark double-neck guitar and imposing stage presence combined with Standke’s razor sharp skills on drums and percussion makes Ragawerk a phenomenal live band to behold. With a series of concerts in the pipeline and a new album that is tipped to become one of the stand out releases of 2022, Clouth and Standke as Ragawerk are undoubtedly set for international recognition and while respect for their work will continue to grow throughout the world.

Some Notes On The Songs:

Clouth and Standke deliver the calling card of the new project with the first track “Ab Yeh Kya?”. Arising from mystically flaring sitar sounds, the piece picks up speed. Violin, guitar and a bass line kick in, Indian percussion accompanies the drums, which are coupled with a modular synthesizer. Max Clouth plays Raga-oriented sequences on his guitar, space is given for piano improvisations, and again and again the iridescent vocals of Varijashree Venugopal soar. The singer is known in her native India for her virtuoso voice and has been working with Max Clouth and Martin Standke for years. In addition to her, four other Indian guest artists are featured on the track: Percussionists Udhai Mazumdar and Shivaraj Natraj, violinist Manas Kumar and sitarist Mehtab Ali Niazi. Vivid interplay with guest musicians is part of Ragawerk ́s modus operandi. An intensive collaboration also developed with Frankfurt-based modular synth player Kabuki. Four tracks on the album are essentially shaped by his electronic setup. Says Martin: “As an electro artist, he naturally has a completely different way of approaching music, also different ideas, but despite this, or because of it, our collaboration is extremely fruitful, we inspire each other a lot” says Martin.

“I Promise,” is a crystal clear piece that breathes tranquility. Floating over harmonic loops, it is reminiscent of the soundtrack of a journey of consciousness. Similarly meditative is the track “Grace – Kṛpā” . A healing sound panorama based on a spiritual motif. Max Clouth was inspired here by liturgical words of the artist, philosopher and reformer Rudolf Steiner. Instead of literally including them in the track, he embraces their deep musicality and translates his perceptions into sounds. The result of this transfer is minimalist, clear and gentle.

Cosmic and worldly at the same time is the track “Maṅgal,” in which disco legend Asha Puthli asks the planet Mars (Sanskrit: Maṅgal) about her destiny. Puthli has worked with Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman, Lionel Hampton and Cy Coleman, among others. Martin Standke and Max Clouth sent her a track that they composed with a sequencer and a drum computer, to which Puthli wrote and sang lyrics. Between Frankfurt and Miami, the result was a beguiling song with the feel of a night time cab ride through Mumbai – an elegant, casual glide through hectic traffic while the lights of the big city flit across the windshield.

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