The group Argo was formed in 1985 in Darmstadt, Germany, by Hans Essel
(violin), Marit Hoffmann (viola) and Thomas Stett (clarinet). They do not follow traditional ways of improvisation like any kind of jazz, but develop a different concept of improvisation not based on expressionistic ideas of music. First, they worked out a very special characteristic of playing the instruments violin, viola, and clarinet. It is based on permanent exploration and experimentation with the instruments in a way that unexpected results can happen any time and require fast response. The specific unpleasing sound is not used for enhanced expression but rather for development of form.
Form, however, in the context of improvisation and uncertaincy and not composition. Besides mixing tones Argo plays with parameters like consistency, density, parallelism, intention and interaction. As there are phases where the three play rather independently their own threads and sometimes very synchronized intended actions forming recognizable objects. It was not clear from the beginning if this concept evolving over years could lead to a kind of unique music which can be understood by others. Starting from 1998, the group tried to realize the same ideas using voices only. Not singing, not speaking, rather decomposing words, articulation of phonemes, elements of speaking.