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Friday, May 11, 2012

Volume - Tungt Vand (Ninth World, 2011) ****

By Paul

The double horn section of Volume is raw and slightly abrasive, in the best way possible. The saxophone and bass clarinet of Mikolaj Trzaska and trombone of Johannes Bauer titillate as they intertwine and traumatized as they battle it out with drummer Peter Ole Jorgensen and electric bassist Peter Friis Nielsen on the tracks of the live 'Tungt Vand'.

The quartet specializes in its namesake but in much more too, taking the adventurous listener on some excellent musical twists and turns. As challenging as the sound can get at times, it seems to retains a core melodic sensibility. In some way, I am reminded of the Scorch Trio in how the group approaches collective improvisation.

Space and time shape the sounds into songs. A good example is 'Megasus', a challenging tune that captures the essence of the group's approach. Starting with the distorted sounds of voices filtered through their mouthpieces, soon follows myriad scrapes, bleets and blasts. Percussive hits punctuate the atmosphere and sustained tones from the sax stretch through the sonic fog. The cacophony builds in intensity and soon the song become a dense frenetic soundscape. Snippets of melodic phrases form and dissipate quickly, often triggering other events. Over the course of eight minutes, it builds to a delightful crescendo of sound and fury, worth every moment of attention.

Overall, 'Tungt Vand' is an engaging listen, its rawness and intertwining melodies can be captivating. Made on a tour date in Poland in 2009, the recording sounds excellent, picking up the extended techniques and grandiose crescendos in living, breathing detail.