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Saturday, January 28, 2017

John Dikeman, Gonçalo Almeida, George Hadow - The Creature (CylinderRecordings, 2016) ***

By Stefan Wood

Cylinder Recordings is a contemporary artist run label, based in the Netherlands, run by bassist Gonçalo Almeida, focusing on experimental and free improvisation. The Creature is a live trio album featuring Almeida, along with John Dikeman (tenor sax) and George Hadow (drums). It is an explosive affair. 

The title track, “The Creature,” finds the trio in full attack mode, Dikeman playing with Brotzmann like aggression; Hadow committing assault to his drums. As it evolves for over fifteen minutes, the trio weaves and bobs like a prize fighter; trading off sonic punches and jabs as they move from one tense moment to another. Sax bleats and wails, then bass provides a firm repetition of notes that the others play around with, drummer moves from low key but active percussive sounds to all out thundering beats. 

On “Foam” they move towards dead silence, interrupted by delicate and lyrical playing by Dikeman. Then joined by the others, the trio moves into a ballad like mode, building momentum until they proceed towards a more aggressive stance. “Tryptic” is a ten minute work that features Almeida as he stretches his notes as if to create a platform for the others to play on, with Dikeman and Hadow keeping things at a medium tone so not to overpower the bass. Slightly reminiscent of artists like Noah Howard or Frank Wright, the aggression comes into play full bore halfway through the track as sax and drums move across the sonic landscape like a hurricane. Upper pitch notes and machine gun beats reign as if to seek a form of catharsis. 

Overall, The Creature is a solid effort, worth checking out for those seeking new works on small, independent labels.