Thursday, February 11, 2010

Uncompromising guitars

You like uncompromising guitars? Hard-hitting drums and relentless bass? Here are some treats. Pump up the volume. Evacuate the neighborhood. Only the fearless can stay. 

Stephan Sieben, Adam Pultz Melbye, Håkon Berre - Angel (Ilk Music, 2009)

I don't know how you call this. Trash jazz? Noise jazz? Punk jazz? Metal jazz? In any case violence and destruction are surely the code words for this Danish trio, with Stephan Sieben on electric guitar, Adam Pultz Melbye on bass and Håkon Berre on drums. They do not compromise. It is all energy and noise. The guitar is maximally distorted. It is all about power and rawness. It is all about destruction and rage. Even the pieces like "Me", that start quietly, do not stay like that for long. Energy kicks in and off we go, full of dissonant chords and chord changes over endless pumping rhythms. But in truth, they try in some tracks to be creative with sound, as on "Chicks", and even become calm near the end with "Ate". What kind of jazz? Fire jazz! Guaranteed to scorch your ears and ignite your scalp.

Olaf Rupp, Marino Pliakas & Michael Wertmüller - Toomuchisnotenough (FMP, 2009)

Regular readers of this blog will already have come across bassist Marino Pliakas and drummer Michael Wertmüller. Not so long ago they released "Black Hole" with Peter Brötzmann, music which has its sensitive moments, but is widely characterized by its power play, as you may expect from a band with the name "Full Blast". Now, the rhythm section accompanies the wild guitar of Olaf Rupp, who goes even a stretch further than Stephan Sieber.When you think you've heard it all, there is always a step which goes beyond expectations. This album comes without warnings for your health, and maybe it should. It is even hard to discern differences between chords because of the heavy distortion of the guitar and bass guitar. But in its mercilessness for the ears, it is a as iconoclastic as it gets, and that by itself deserves credits. Forget about what you know. Forget about genres too. And in the midst of this sonic hell, there are some surprising moments of creativity, yet you have to dig through the avalanche of noise to get to it. The best sonic clarity you get is from the drums, and I must say Wertmüller is a fantastic drummer. And I can appreciate Rupp's and Pliakas' unrelenting and uncompromising energy and attitude, but I do not think I will listen to this album very often.

© stef

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The "avalanche of noise" is in itself a form of the group's "creativity," not something to be "got through." It's a total experience, not just a pastiche of pretty moments.