Friday, April 26, 2013

Albatre - A Descent Into the Maelstrom (Shhpuma Records, 2013)

Albatre is an improvising trio from The Netherlands consisting of Hugo Costa on alto saxophone and electronics, Gonzo Almeida on bass and electronic effects and Philipp Ernsting on drums and electronics. Their music is frenetic and exciting free jazz with splashes of electronics that gives the music a wide palette of sound. Electric bass guitar and pulsating drums combine with snarls of electronics making a dark and ominous sound that is really in your face with blasts or drums between wails of saxophone. The start-stop dynamic they use is particularly effective as a tension building device on “Malestrom.” A spare and haunting theme opens “Aphotic Zone” with the reverberations of the electronics making for a lonely feel to the music. The full band comes through and really ramps things up into overdrive, moving into the following track, “Deep Trench” which is shorn of any ornamental nature and evolves into a pure trio stomp. “Vampyroteuthis Infernalis” has a strong bass and drum foundation that drives the music ever forward and makes for a great launching pad for an absolutely scalding sound. The closing “Albatrossia” breaks with the formula a bit, with Almeida and Ernsting developing a fractured funk groove before Costa enters and leads the group into an overpowering collective improvisation. I found this album to be quite enjoyable and exciting. The group holds nothing back, and fans of The Thing and similar groups should find a lot to enjoy here A Descent Into the Maelstrom -

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