Sunday, September 03, 2017

Mette Rasmussen / Tashi Dorji / Tyler Damon - To the Animal Kingdom (Trost, 2017)

Mette Rasmussen is a Danish alto saxophone player currently making her base of operations in Norway. She builds off of a wide range of influences, and demonstrates all of them on this album moving from free jazz to abstract soundscapes with equal facility. This is a very exciting album with Rasmussen joined by Tashi Dorji on guitar and Tyler Damon on drums, beginning with "To The Animal Kingdom" which plunges right in at the deep end with raw and guitar and saxophone met by pummeling drums. The music is very exciting with blistering shards of guitar sparking off against gale force saxophone and drums. Rasmussen has a very raw and appealing tone to her instrument, playing with a heart on her sleeve emotion that is very powerful, and leads the group into some over the top full band interplay. Torrential sounds burst forth with deep and guttural saxophone illuminated by flashes of guitar and the epic rhythm set of the drums. The trio breaks into a section of uneasy calm, as if pausing for breath before long tones of saxophone branch out and begin to howl as the maelstrom returns and carries to group to the conclusion. "To Life" is the second track and there are raw scrapes of guitar and ominous breathy saxophone meeting choppy sounds to form an uneasy opening. The group coalesces into a tight organic unit that builds the volume and intensity back up with thrashing drums and frantic morse code sounding notes from Rasmussen's saxophone, segueing into a thrilling collective improvisation of all out passion from the three musicians. This massive twenty minute plus track is consistently engaging due to the dedication of the musicians to ceaseless exploration, building to a full on assault with deep rhythmic drive underpinning the proceedings. The music opens up to evolve into a spacious section that is yearning and present, creating interesting textures as they build back up to the end of the track, playing with urgent physical power. The final track, "To the Heavens and the Earth," begins with pointillistic guitar and low tones of saxophone and percussion. They develop scratchy music that gradually folds in some more harrowing sounds that unite the group into a cohesive whole. The volume increases as great slabs of sound are conjured with blustery saxophone leading to a scalding trio improvisation. Bleats of saxophone with choppier guitar and drums lead the music into a more open and abstract section, with subtle saxophone framed by spacey and haunted guitar and drums that gradually build in as the track concludes. This was an excellent album of very exciting free jazz, with three very talented and focused musicians meeting on common ground and creating spontaneous and powerful music. To the Animal Kingdom - Bandcamp.

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