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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

PUG LiFE –L ‘Annee Perrotique (akti records, 2021)

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

The reason why this review is written right now, almost a year after this edition of one hundred copies cd came out, is that only now was I able to purchase it. PUG LiFE is the duo of Taneli Viitahuhta on alto and baritone saxes, flutephone, mouth harp and effect pedals and Lauri Hyvarinen on electric guitar, fuzz box and laptop. Mastered by Ilia Belorukov, the careful listener (plus those who want to put labels on the music) will find resemblances with the anarchic sounds of another Scandinavian duo, SKRONK GBG.

This cd was recorded during quarantine time, which means that all of the tracks for it were recorded separately. L ‘Annee Perrotique blurs the boundaries between free jazz, improvisation (even though the distance between the two musicians forced them to include compositional elements for the very first time) and free rock. Above all the aforementioned, L ‘Annee Perrotique evolves around a “any sound is possible” approach.

The feeling that some of the thirteen tracks of the cd are unfinished snippets of something new to come, puzzled me and, actually, never got a clear answer for it. Approaching all the tracks through a different scope, maybe this was the approach from the beginning. The vast majority of the tracks are aggressive and edgy, making the listener feel quite uncomfortable in understanding the music as a by-product of any jazz based music.

I’m not even sure that the free jazz listener will be pleased from their mostly electric and less acoustic approach- plus their chosen instruments for it.

But that shouldn’t matter at all. L ‘Annee Perrotique is an adventurous listen, a recording that grabs you and demands attention. You can’t make a relaxed in the background approach from it. Its punkish feel is made for ears attached to the anything goes ethos of improvisation without any additional labeling. I will be listening more closely for their next try.