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Friday, November 25, 2011

Circulasione Totale Orchestra – PhilaOslo (Circulasione Totale, 2011) ****½

By Stef

This double-CD by Frode Gjerstad's large ensemble starts with the horrendous electronic screeching of Lasse Marhaug, but then gradually the music develops, harsh, raw, intrusive, overwhelming, overpowering, with the triple drums of Louis Moholo-Moholo and Paal Nilssen-Love and Morten J. Olsen, accompanied by the acoustic bass of Nick Stephens and the electric bass of Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, the full rhythm section picking up rhythm and Børre Mølstad's tuba accentuating it with a repeated tone, yet the behemoth gradually slows down for Bobby Bradford's cornet to bring the first clear tones, played in his bluesy tone over Kevin Norton's vibes, and Sabir Mateen and Gjerstad himself adding the sax and clarinet lines. On the seventy-one minute long first disc, recorded in Philadelphia, the band shows its real strength by moving as one, not only in the exuberant parts, but especially in the quiet moments, in which sounds bubble up organically like sounds from nature waking up at dawn, all different yet painting a great common canvas of surprise and purity. But of course madness erupts again, with screeching electronics, disrupting every notion of possible comfort, to be altered by steady rhythm and great soloing, "electric Miles"-like at moments.

The second disc is recorded in Oslo, and features the same band, except for two changes : Per Zanussi plays the electric bass and Anders Hana joins on electric guitar. The piece is a few seconds shorter only, and offers the same joyous wildness, and it is hard to say which is best, and possibly nobody can, and that's probably the reason why we get both in one package. The electric Miles elements are a little more accentuated because of the electric guitar, but that's just a little touch, the rest is as rambunctious, boisterous, booming, cacophonous, clamorous, crashing, deafening, deep, ear-piercing, ear-splitting, emphatic, full, heavy, high-sounding, intense, piercing, powerful, raucous, blustering, roaring, rowdy, sonorous, thundering, tumultuous, turbulent, uproarious, vehement, vociferous ... in short capable of waking up the dead ... and real fun at that.

Yet the great power of the album is its variation, and other moments are delicate, gracious, restrained, ritzy, sensitive, sophisticated, subtle ...  resulting in a bewitching, captivating, entrancing, hypnotic, mesmerizing performance.

I hope you get the gist: free and wild and adventurous and deep?

Forstår du?

© stef