Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Postmarks - National Parks (Monotype, 2013) ****

By Stef 

We like the music of saxophonist Boris Hauf, as can be read on previous reviews here. On these albums Hauf demonstrated his skill to create a sonic mood, a coherent environment sculpted with sound. On "National Parks" he is accompanied by D Bayne on piano and by Martin Siewert on guitar.

The music is inspired by the posters for US national parks from the 1930s and 1940s, which strangely add the dual color of evocating nature, while at the same time coloring with sentiments of bygone days.

The music is quiet, well-paced, subtle, beautiful, not cheerful but also not really sad, but rather solemn and light-hearted, if that is possible, and then Siewert draws a solid nail through the musical poster, ripping every sentiment of comfort you may have had.

Some of the tracks are real miniatures, short often minimalist pieces full of finesse and interesting playing, and they are as good as the longer pieces, which are on the second part of the album, with more room to develop the ideas while at the same time allowing for more emotional depth.

In a way you could qualify the music as free jazz impressionism, because of its concept and its accessibility and obvious beauty on the surface level, yet at the same time, the music remains open-ended, like nothing is definitive, with more abstract threads of sounds left unraveled, as if there is a question mark behind it all, and with some darker undercurrents, something fearful and unexplained, mayby unexplainable, hidden in the invisible parts of the scenes yet present, or with traces of the past somehow still lingering, only to be caught with sound, with repetitive arpeggios, slightly bending notes on the sax and screeching guitar sounds.





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