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Friday, July 10, 2015

Platform - Anthropocene (Va Fongool, 2015) ***½

By Eyal Hareuveni

Platform was founded in 2001 as a Norwegian acoustic free improvisation trio featuring cellist Katrine Schiøtt, pianist Jonas Cambien and drummer Jan Martin Gismervik, both of whom play in the experimental rock band Karokh (Gismervik also plays on the the free jazz-and free improvisation outfits Monkey Plot, Wolfram or PGA). A year later the trio teamed with experienced French clarinetist Xavier Charles and began to tour Europe and New York. The quartet name is inspired by 'platformism', a tendency within anarchism but its music reflects a collective responsibility, aesthetic unity and self-organizing mechanisms within an often chaotic structure.

The ten tracks on the quartet debut album emphasize the patient, disciplined approach of the four musicians. Each piece, all titled after classes and orders of insects, is focused on a slow, focused exploration of texture, careful tension building and sounds, from its minimal, resonant spectrum to the its most weird, unpredictable and noisy terrains, free from a fixed pulse or harmonic conventions. All pieces lean to an experimental, searching tone, featuring impressive command of various extended techniques that transform the common vocabulary of the instruments into whole new sonic platforms.

The longer pieces like “Gastropoda” succeed to to form unique listening experiences.On this piece the experimental, reserved  sonic searches gel into a coherent strange but truly beautiful texture, full of nuances and colors. Charles clarinet frames the quartet searching tones into an exotic, gentle and surprisingly melodic piece on “Siphonaptera” and Schiøtt creates a light, almost transparent colors on the minimalist, resonant “Psocodea”. Only the last, untitled piece suggests a fractured, chaotic attempt to lock the collective exploration of sounds in a loose rhythm..  

As with all Va Fongool releases, Platform cover introduce an original, young Norwegian designer, this time Ida Kristine G. Hatleskog.