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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Poolplayers - Way Below The Surface (Songlines, 2008) ****

Here is another record of interest, which combines some interesting musicians of today's European avant-garde scene, and that is meant in the broadest sense, artists who do not belong to a specific genre, but who somehow are interested and master many, from jazz to ethnic music and electronics. Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen, French pianist Benoit Delbecq, Danish drummer Lars Juul and British drummer Steve Argüelles, all have electronics as part of their instrumental credits on the album sleeve, yet the straight instruments remain the main voice on the album, once in a while altered or supported by electronics, and that makes it a good listening experience to me. The music is slow, introverted and improvised. It is much in the line of what we know from Arve Henriksen, including the vocal trumpet parts, the singing, but the combination with Delbecq and the two drummers works to perfection to build an enigmatic, contemplative atmosphere, and is best illustrated by "Time Makes The Tune", the longest track on the album, on which all instruments get different sound qualities because of the electronics, but nicely, gently, emotionally, creating a sound sculpture by adding layers of sparse notes and pointillistic accents, with Henriksen's high-toned wordles singing completing the eery atmosphere. Beautiful music.

Listen to
Beneath The Undercurrent
A Rumored Version Of Ourselves

Downloand from eMusic.