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Saturday, September 16, 2017

MOVE - Hyvinkää (uniSono, 2017) ****

By Martin Schray

MOVE is an international improvising quintet consisting of Harri Sjöström (sax), Emilio Gordoa (vibraphone), Achim Kaufmann (piano, synthesizer), Adam Pultz Melbye (bass) and Dag Magnus Narvesen (drums, percussion). They’re all part of Berlin’s still prospering Echtzeit scene, a network of musicians and composers working at the interfaces of avant-garde, contemporary classical music, electronics, free jazz and improvised music. Typical for this scene, MOVE is the result of a session that took place at Dag Magnus Narvesen’s studio in 2013. Emilio Gordoa liked the sound of the group, took the initiative to organize some real concerts for them and since that went well too, he and Harri Sjöström decided to keep it active as MOVE.

Like a typical Echtzeit project, the ensemble tries to generate a sonic language which sounds electronic but which is produced by acoustic instruments - like white static produced by etheric noise, extended techniques, and silence. A good example of this approach is Emilio Gordoa’s way of playing the vibraphone: he includes all kinds of preparations, for example cans, cymbals, tambourines, tension belts etc. (it reminds me of Paul Lovens’ way of treating his drum kit). Based on this notion the band’s able to create a huge soundscape within an ample dynamic spectrum.

MOVE’s music is not 100% improvised, there are some preconceived ideas. According to Gordoa the quintet has “roads that we all know quite well and we know where these roads take us in music. This is our sound and the way of working with composed material. Nevertheless, we love to surprise the audience and ourselves, so leaving these roads is the real improvisation.“

Hyvinkää is a 40-minute recording of a live concert at the Hyvinkää Art Museum in Finland. The piece pops up like a bottle of champagne, the music spills and bubbles. However, this all happens very subtly, it’s spherical and floating at the same time. A bass drone is positioned against bell-like vibraphone sounds and piano arpeggios, while the saxophone tiptoes around them like a ballet dancer. In general, Kaufmann’s piano, Melbye’s bass, and Narvesen’s drums are very economical, they rather stress certain textures. The whole piece is the opposite of a dramatic rollercoaster ride, it displays a rather reluctant emotionality, circling around microtonal shifts, shy piano chords and myriads of percussion sounds. Only around the 25-minute mark the music gets darker, the toms and the bass are more menacing, although the sax is trying to fight them with beautiful lines.

MOVE’s music is often collectively improvised, there are hardly any solos or duos. It reminds me of a reduced, yet more expressive version of Wolfgang Fuchs’ King Übü Orchestrü, as if their music was culled from the Orchestrü’s post-minimalist approach. It’s delicate, stripped-down and introspective with lots of fragile short noise intersperses. Very recommendable.

Hyvinkää is available as a CD. You can buy it here.

Watch the band here:


MJG said...

This sounds like an intriguing listen. I always like to purchase direct from the label/musician if possible but unfortunately the label doesn't ship to the UK, what a shame

Martin Schray said...

Try Emilio Gordoa directly, MJG.

Anonymous said...

I was about to ask whether you knew if the label ships to USA, but given the UK comment, I guess not. I'll try Emilio Gordoa.

MJG said...

Thanks Martin. I've contacted Emilio. Here's hoping.MJG

Anonymous said...

You could order the "Move"-CD here for example:
or here:

MJG said...

Thanks Anon