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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Calling Signals 08 - From Café Oto (Loose Torque, 2009) ****

Calling Signals is a band started by British bassist Nick Stephens and Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad (here on alto and clarinet) in 1994 (with Paul Rutherford and Terje Isungset), with now in its fifth incarnation Lol Coxhill on soprano and Paal Nilssen-Love on percussion. The music is closer to free improvisation than to real free jazz, avoiding anything close to repetitive patterns in rhythm and melody, but focusing completely on the sound interaction between the musicians. The end result is can be expected by such seasoned artists : clashes of ideas bouncing around, sometimes harsh, sometimes remarkably gentle, full of in-the-moment intensity and drive. Spread over two pieces, one eleven minutes, the other fourty-three, you're part of a musical universe of a strange intensity, little notes, fierce intensity, rapid-fire percussion, raw intensity, gut-piercing bowing sounds, birds dialoguing, howling tones, sweet tones, dense intensity, plaintive tones, physical intensity, squeezing distress out of horns, hitting anger out of anything, pulling warmth out of strings, drama, emotion, just music, unbound.

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