Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Heart Lung - Between Them A Forest Grew, Trackless and Quiet (Sounds Are Active, 2007) ***

The title of the album and the wonderful cover art already indicate that this band is a little out of the ordinary, and indeed it is. The music brings mainly open atmospheric duets between electric guitar and percussion, but with substance and interaction. The main duo consists of Chris Schlarb on electric guitar and electronics, and Tom Steck on drums, with Peter Chan joining on clarinet or alto saxophone on three tracks. The music is minimalistic, light, calm, yet also somber and dark. The guitar limits itself to sounds or arpeggiated chord progressions, limiting itself also mostly to the middle range of the instrument, there are no high notes, no screeching, no violence, but the music has sufficient tension, with even hypnotic moments at times to keep it all interesting. One of the greatest qualities of the two musicians is that they keep this fenomenal control and almost abnormal restraint throughout the album. And so does the sax, adding color and shadings, and tension as well, but minimal, sensitive and gentle. Any other musician would have created a climax or explosive moment, but not here : eery. At times the music is closer to prog rock than to jazz, and the bonus track spoils the overall atmosphere a little, so just don't listen to it.

Listen to
Maleem Ya Maleem
If I Were A Young Man Now

You can download or order from Sounds Are Active.

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