Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hamar Trio - Yesterday Is Here (Clean Feed, 2018)

The Hamar Trio consists of Klaus Ellerhusen Holm on clarinet and alto saxophone, Hernani Faustino on bass and Nuno Morao on drums and percussion. The music was recorded in November 2016 in Portugal and begins with "Yellow Plum," which opens the album with spare reed sounds, and barely heard percussion using feathering brushes, clarinet and long tones of bowed bass. They create an uncomfortable, unsettling sound collage, one that grows louder, coalescing into a collective improvisation as clarinet and bowed bass undulate in constant motion, leading into a quiet middle of abstract improvisation. It's a complex, tight act of spontaneous creation, growing gradually louder with sweeping clarinet and their loud/soft, light/dark dynamic setting the pace for the album. A deep and raw toned alto saxophone leads "Sjoorm" with taut bass in music that flexes its muscles and circulates well rhythmically, rough hewn and powerful, moving to a robust free improvisation, gaining momentum and spinning with centripetal force, open and unencumbered and playing with great enthusiasm. Gales of saxophone alternating with long alarming tones of sound and earthy plucked bass are met with incisive drumming carry them to the outer edge of improvisation and the conclusion of the performance. "Sour Apple" also uses long tones of saxophone rolling out over crisply played cymbals and rumbling drums invoking a mysterious feeling as the bass bounds along. The saxophone breaks out a little more clearly, playing an unaccompanied section, sounding naked and unadorned, and emotionally free, before the bass and drums crash back in driving the music faster and louder into an exciting free improvisation with covers an impressive length of time in a performance that is filled with great enthusiasm and eagerness, gradually downshifting in intensity, coalescing around a tight drum pattern for the closing. Unexpected sounds varying in pitch and strength give "Yesterday is Here" it's ailen soundscape, sounding unsettled, urgent and stressed. The percussive brushes paint shifting and shuffling layers while the saxophone emits a piercing, arcing sound that is almost painful to hear. They have become sound scientists, looking to see how far they can manipulate their instruments, seeking inner and outer space, juxtaposing silence with harrowing vibrations. They create strange and fascinating results, one gets the feeling that Sun Ra would be proud. Give them credit: their music is powerful and bracing stuff. Yesterday is Here -

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