среда, 29 апреля 2015 г.

Russell / Beresford / Edwards / Liavik Solberg - Will It Float? (2015)

Russell / Beresford / Edwards / Liavik Solberg - Will It Float? (Va Fongool, 2015)

Personnel:
John Russell: guitar
Steve Beresford: objects and electronics
John Edwards: double bass
Ståle Liavik Solberg: drums and percussion

Tracklisting:
01 - Will It Float?
02 - Light Impermeable
03 - Buoyant
04 - The Third Time

The music on "Will It Float?" can best be described as classic British improvisation with an electro-acoustic twist. These are the major elements that run through the recording, creating a soundscape that is both challenging and engaging. The improvisations are freely made, without preparation, and are characterized by an extreme joy in playing and a desire to take chances while maintaining a firm focus on the group's identity. After playing in a successful duo with John Russell for a couple of years, Ståle Liavik Solberg decided to put together a quartet consisting of more musicians from the British improvisation scene. For him it was an easy choice to combine Russell with Steve Beresford and John Edwards, and Liavik Solberg arranged for the quartet to play at St. Mary's Old Church in Stoke Newington, London. Once the idea had taken root for the concert it became obvious they were embarking on something special and the decision was taken to call in renowned recording engineer Dave Hunt to record the music. John Russell, Steve Beresford, and John Edwards have been a part of the free improvisation scene in England and Europe for several decades, and have played together in many different circumstances during this time. Ståle Liavik Solberg is an active free improviser in Norway and is, among other things, a director of the extensive concert series Blow Out! in Oslo. Fred Lonberg-Holm got the task of mixing and mastering the album and Kjetil Tangen made the great cover art. [Forced Exposure]

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понедельник, 27 апреля 2015 г.

Tim Berne's Snakeoil - You've Been Watching Me (2015)

Tim Berne's Snakeoil  - You've Been Watching Me (ECM, 2015)

Personnel:
Tim Berne: alto saxophone
Oscar Noriega: bass, clarinets
Ryan Ferreira: guitars
Matt Mitchell: piano, electronics
Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, percussion, timpan

Tracklisting:
01 - Lost In Redding
02 - Small World In A Small Town
03 - Embraceable Me
04 - Angles
05 - You've Been Watching Me
06 - Semi-Self Detached
07 - False Impressions

In the course of his long and prolific career, alto saxophonist/composer Tim Berne has been more of a musical agitator than a mediator. While that's a positive characteristic of Berne's creative process, it is also a demanding one for all concerned. Berne's tenure with ECM, however, has been marked by a more pronounced move toward balancing restorative musical properties to juxtapose very complex structures. The result of Berne's continued growth is You've Been Watching Me, a high point of his compositional achievements to date.

As on his two previous ECM leader dates with Snakeoil—the self-titled debut (2012) and Shadow Man (2013)—Berne's cohort includes Oscar Noriega on clarinets, Matt Mitchell on piano and Ches Smith on various and sundry percussion. An addition to the original quartet is guitarist Ryan Ferreira. The Eastman School of Music graduate adds an ethereal, liquid quality that belies his early heavy-metal influences.

"Lost In Redding" opens with all hands on deck, creating a carnival-like atmosphere before abruptly switching gears and turning the proceedings over to Noriega. His bass clarinet solo alternates between single tones and more musical structures, eventually giving way to a series of solos from the rest of the group. Mitchell's keys are augmented by Smith's light but decisive propulsion providing the transition to the reeds retaking the piece, slowly building back to the calamitous level of the opening. "Small World In A Small Town" may be most ambitious composition Berne has created. Beginning as a duet between Berne and Mitchell, the slow pace allows the articulation to stand out clearly. Taking on suite-like qualities, Noriega (at almost ten-minutes in) adds lyrical, classically influenced themes then almost imperceptibly shifts to a subtle Middle-Eastern melody accompanied by a rock beat as the reeds patiently build to a crescendo. The scope of the piece is epic; the music mesmerizing.

"Embraceable Me" and "Angles" are darker in tone, the former beginning as a deep, rumbly free-for-all that is both cinematic and discordant but taking a haunting turn that carries over to the dark, foreboding "Angles." Ghostly intensity and unbalanced harmonies give an aesthetic tension to the music; Ferreira and Mitchell often conjuring color and texture just out of obvious earshot. The set concludes with "False Impressions" and—like "Small World In A Small Town"—changing themes, tempos and modulation create a labyrinth of movements.

Produced and mixed by ECM label-mate and past colleague, guitarist David Torn, You've Been Watching Me represents another forward-looking development for Berne and Snakeoil. The quintet works in various breakout formations adding to the variety of textures and sounds. There's an openness in this setting that adds depth and drama to the improvisations that weave through the arrangements. Berne's music has never been anything less than challenging, but here it is broader and more accessible without sacrificing edginess; You've Been Watching Me is a major achievement in Berne's portfolio. [Allaboutjazz]

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