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Friday, February 8, 2008

Plunge - Refreshingly Addictive (Kopasetic, 2007) ****

Impressive new album of fully improvised pieces by this Swedish trio, that consists of Andreas Andersson on baritone sax, Mattias Hjorth on double bass and Peter Nilsson on drums. Although the music is fully improvised, the three musicians feel each other blindly, building very coherent and focused pieces, that manage to build up tension and keep increasing this tension - and hence also listener's expectations - without leaving the tune's main angle of approach. Andersson's playing on the baritone is warm, single-toned and controlled, without squeals or overblowing, slow, precise and full of direction. This "slowness", if that's the correct word, is one of the band's main features : they're not afraid of silence, yet without making the music meditative, they use it as a functional element to keep the tension going. Emotional expression and aesthetic beauty are the main drivers for this band, in which all three musicians play an equal role. Hjorth's bass-playing is free and anchored in the tradition, but great, as in Charlie Haden's bass-playing, full of ideas and melancholy. Nilsson's drumming is broad and creative, working his instrument often like a percussionist would, adding accents, creating musical effects rather than rhythm and pulse. The only downside of the album is that most tracks keep within the same tonal range and tempo, yet on the other hand that enables them to get this tight instant compositional feel. Recommended.

Listen to
Refreshingly Addictive
Kind Of Askew
The Zürich Effect

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