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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

BodaBoda Duo feat. Peter Brötzmann – Modern Persuasion (Tyrfing , 2015) ****

By Martin Schray

Peter Brötzmann basically has preferred three types of cooperations in recent years: well-rehearsed formations like his trio with John Edwards and Steve Noble (plus the extension with Jason Adasiewicz) or his band Full Blast (with drummer Michael Wertmüller and bassist Marino Pliakas), collaborations with people he hasn’t worked before (e.g. with pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh), and then he also likes to be the special guest - as for the Turkish band kONSTRUKt or the German trio Die Dicken Finger (with guitarist Olaf Rupp, bassist Jan Roder and drummer Oliver Steidle) or the Swiss XOL (with trumpeter Guy Bettini, bassist Luca Pissavini and drummer Franceso Miccolis).

This album belongs to the last category.

The Danish BodaBoda Duo consists of guitarist Jakob Thorkild  and drummer Bjørn Heebøll, who have released six albums since their debut in 2004. Among others they have worked with Fred Lonberg-Holm, Raymond Strid or Swedish sax player Sture Ericson. In general their approach reminds of bands like Lightning Bolt - freely improvised, brutal, violent noise which has its roots in experimental alternative rock.

Although Peter Brötzmann usually isn’t so much into this kind of music (when asked about the music he listens to he always points out that this is predominantly the music of his youth - Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins etc.), he likes to play in such brute contexts (just think of Last Exit, Hairy Bones or his work with Keiji Haino). And that’s why you don’t get disappointed here either.

The band throws you in the deep end right away, there is no warming up. “The Beauty“ starts with Brötzmann’s typical call to arms accompanied by a guitar that sounds like a maelstrom of screws and nails, while the drumming is in the best Paal Nilssen-Love tradition. Brötzmann blows like in the old days with Bennink and Van Hove, supported by Heebøll's light-speed cymbal work and mad guitar loops by Thorkild - as if Pat Metheny was on chrystal meth. “Designed“, the second track, opens with a furious yet bluesy Brötzmann solo and when the band drops in they add microtonal staccato shredder before the guitar changes its tone and sound to a more rock-orientated approach that reminds of Living Colour’s Vernon Reid going thrash metal. But then something magical happens: the music stops, only a guitar feedback remains, as if there was a new whole piece.  And while the drums add rimshot barrage at the end, the guitar changes to Spacemen 3’s two-tone “Walk with Jesus“ theme. At this moment alternative rock psychedelia meets hyperactive drumming while Brötzmann displays his Ayler roots. These eight minutes alone are worth listening.

Modern Persuasion was recorded live at The Village in Copenhagen and it is available on vinyl only (or you can download it from iTunes).

You can buy it from InstantJazz.

Listen to “Designed“ here:


Colin Green said...

I don’t think this album is top-drawer Brötzmann, certainly not of the same quality as Last Exit or Hairy Bones. There isn’t the same level of rapport. The fade-out at the end of side A is welcome as it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, but I agree that the final part of Side B is the best music on the album. Perhaps things had started to gel by that stage.

As for Brötzmann’s Ayler roots, this is a tricky one. There are certainly aspects of Ayler’s playing in his music from the outset. Listen to what I think is the earliest recording we have, which is probably from 1965 rather than 1964, as stated:

On the other hand, I feel that Brötzmann did not absorb Ayler’s music and make it part of his own until rather later, from about the time of “Die Like a Dog - Fragments of Music, Life and Death of Albert Ayler” (FMP, 1994) onwards.

Unknown said...

To add to Colin's point, I always thought that Brotz's Aylerian "roots" were a misnomer, given that his early playing developed at the same time as Ayler's, and they arrived at a similar way of soloing through different doors.

Colin Green said...

That is my understanding also: that Brötzmann had not actually heard Ayler at the time he made the recording to which I've provided a link. It seems he did hear him on his 1966 European tour, and it's unclear when he first heard Ayler on record given the limited availability of the recordings in the mid-sixties.

In other words, Brötzmann seems to arrived at his initial style very much from scratch. Ayler was to become a more prominent figure for him later on.