Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Entr'acte - Soigne Ta Droite (Audiographic Records, 2019)

This bracing album is the first from a new large ensemble led by multi reed instrumentalist Ken Vandermark. It features some of the best improvising talent from America and Europe, including Nate Wooley on trumpet, Mette Rasmussen on alto saxophone, Jasper Stadhouders on electric bass and guitar, Terrie Hessels on guitar, Joe Williamson on acoustic and electric bass, Elisabeth Harnik on piano, Steve Heather and Didi Kern on drums and Dieb13 (Dieter Kovačič) on turntables and electronics. The music that this group creates over three long performances is a rich and exciting mixture of electric and acoustic music, blustery gales of reeds and brass, imposing squalls of guitars and electronics and abstract, spacey interludes for piano and reeds. "Perpetual Desk (For Ikue Mori)" dedicated to the no-wave drummer turned laptop pioneer comes barreling out of the gate, allowing the group to make a statement right away, mixing piano with raw sound and allowing the music to unfold gradually. Guitars intertwine to build a different texture and the music shifts, with the horns building in on top. Bright and immediate saxophone solos amid feathered percussion and bowed bass sounding wonderful, building to squalls of vividly colorful sound. The horns riff before letting loose another saxophone with exemplary rhythmic accompaniment, constructing raw and rending sounds. There is a spacey interlude, as synth sounds slink around in the dark, cut off by massive chunks of full band sound. Spare sounds open "Foundry (For Richard Serra)" growing into an imposing web of guitars and electronics, then drums crash in taking things way out in a thrilling and uncompromising manner. Horns fold in, filling out the sound to a massive gale, relaxing to allow piano to improvise with guitar and percussion. Invigorating and blustery horns fall in toward the middle of this lengthy presentation, playing together in a fine formation, before disgorging a saxophone for a powerful solo flight over vivid computer electronics and powerful drumming, creating an all out improvisation that is enjoyable to hear. Horns trade ideas with Harnik's piano in a witty section leading to her remarkable solo section, then the spaciousness comes back with bowed bass and long tones in eerie near silence, then adding instruments slowly as they close the performance. "Telegram (For Francis Picabia)" has ripe and passionate horns with thick bass and drums, and electronics adding further texture. The music is brash and swaggering, moving confidently forward, with a saxophone branching out for a piercing solo cutting through the accompaniment and sounding excellent with a penetrating tone and outstanding presence. The drummers take center stage with a laudable feature, stretching and pulling the rhythm to the breaking point, resolving to a full collective improvisation, praiseworthy and a lot of fun to hear. This album worked very well, it was exciting and deserving of respect and support. The compositions were well designed, allowing the band along with smaller sub-units and soloists excellent opportunities to shine and they made the most of it, deserving approval and admiration. Soigne Ta Droite - Audiographic Bandcamp

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