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Thursday, April 30, 2015

John Russell/Steve Beresford/John Edwards/Ståle Liavik Solberg - Will It Float? (Va Fongool, 2015) ****

By Eyal Hareuveni

This British-Norwegian quartet was put together by Norwegian drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg who had collaborated in recent years with guitarist John Russell (the duo recorded No Step, on Solberg label Hispid, 2014) and with electronics master Steve Beresford (in a trio with Swedish reed player Martin Küchen that recorded Three Babies, Peira, 2013). The addition of double bass player John Edwards, another prominent member of London’s free improvisation scene, was only natural. The recording of the quartet took place at the St. Mary’s Old Church in Stoke Newington, London, in November 2013, later mixed and mastered by another close associate of Solberg, Chicagoan cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm.

Beresford, who plays on a wide variety of acoustic objects and resourcefully uses electronics devices, stresses surprising elements of danger, surprise and even dark humor in what may have sound as a cerebral, classic British free improvisation set. His presence alters the dynamics and the balance of this set to a course of a experimental, playful exploration of nuanced sounds. The spare interplay never attempts to anchor its intense dynamics on a clear pulse, melodic narrative, or structure. Still, this quartet succeeds to form  its own collective identity. Its delicate textures mirror loose puzzles, woven together in a patient flow of colorful sounds that only close to its later phases reveal its own evasive logics and blends surprisingly into an arresting soundscape. Suddenly, on the last piece, "The Third Time" the quartet burst with an innocent excitement, solidifying its raisons d'être - nothing is obvious, expect to be challenged, but this sonic ride guarantees many joyful moments.


Akustica said...

You can buy "Will it float?" in digital at store -