Month: April 2016

YODOK III – Legion Of Radiance

“Binnen het aanbod van Ambient/drones en dergelijke meer is Yodok III ondertussen geen onbekende meer. Yodok III is een samenwerking tussen Tomas Järmyr (Barchan, Zu), Kristoffer Lo (Trondheim Jazz Orchestra ) en drone-goeroe Dirk Serries (microfonie, Dirk Serries, Fear Falls Burning).  Yodok III zal aantreden op Dunk!festival op vrijdag 6 mei. Naar aanleiding daarvan namen we het nieuwste kleinood van deze artiest/band onder de loep. Legion of Radiance, Live at Dokhuset is amper één nummer, maar wel eentje met een duurtijd van circa 1u08 minuten lang.


Het unieke aan deze ‘drone’ is de samensmelting tussen typische elementen voor die muziekstijl, de verstilde tot intieme sfeer van Ambient. Ook de inbreng van Jazz elementen, en de experimentele kant daarvan. Zorgen ervoor dat we ons met gemak laten meedrijven op deze toch wel heel intensieve trip. Want ja, een trip kan je dit nummer zeker noemen. Bij het begin van de song hoor je bijna niets, het lijkt zelfs even alsof het nummer nog niet bezig is. Binnen die verstilde, intieme sfeer raden we de luisteraardan ook aan zich te laten hypnotiseren door de bevreemdende klanken.
Naar gelang het nummer vordert beginnen alle stoppen door te slaan en krijgen we een hartverscheurende climax te verwerke. Maar toch worden geen geluidsmuren afgebroken.

Na een half uur, lijken we weer te worden ondergedompeld in een verstilde sfeer. Met drones die een zekere diepgang bevatten. Dit is geen muziek die je zomaar lukraak beluisterd, maar die je vooral moet voelen. Daarom raden we aan alle zorgen even opzij te zetten, alle storende elementen eveneens. En gewoon, liefst met de ogen gesloten, je laten bedwelmen door de hypnotiserende klanken die Yodok III met deze ene hartverscheurende song weet aan te bieden. Fans van typische drones met experimentele ambient elementen, zullen hier zeker hun gading in vinden. We lieten ons gewillig meedrijven tot een absolute climax. Waarbij het midden wordt gelaten tussen een mens potdoof maken door die ene verzengde drone, of net de luisteraar in een diepe trance te doen belanden.

U leest het al, binnen die ene song worden verschillende emoties aangesproken. Maar ook lijkt het te zijn samengesteld uit golven. Die gaan van trommelvliezen aanvallen, door luide drone geluiden. Om binnen het concept een mens ook tot volstrekte rust en vrede te brengen. Na die circa zeventig minuten voelen we ons tot een andere wereld keren, in diepe trance. Met dank aan de hypnotiserende klanken die Yodok III ons weet te brengen. Voelen we ons ver verwijderd van deze harde wereld, zweven boven de aarde. Verweesd, onder de indruk maar vooral in opperste vervoering worden we gebracht door deze experimentele aanpak. Waarbij en we herhalen, je als luisteraar best luistert met je hart. Wan deze ene song moet je dus vooral voelen, heel diep voelen tot het diepste van je genen. Indrukwekkend!” Snoozecontrol – Belgium

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The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

“It is always interesting to discover how different schools of free improvisation adapt to each other and redefine this loose, inclusive art.  Amsterdam-based American sax player John Dikeman’s free improvisations are rooted in the legacy of the fiery American free jazz and the volcanic aesthetics of European sax players as Brötzmann; British sax player Colin Webster and drummer Andrew Lisle are coming from a more distinct European school of free improvisation, while Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries has gravitated in recent years from being a master sculptor of power drones to a daring improviser who injects elements of metal and ambient into his free-associative settings.
All are prolific musicians, performing, and recording non-stop and keep collaborating with each other in different, changing formats. Dikeman and Serries collaborated on Live at  Le Vecteur Charleroi (Belgium 10/28/2014), as a duo on Cult Exposure (A New Wave of Jazz, 2014 and 2015) and again on Obscure Fluctuations (Trost, 2015) ; Serries and Webster collaborated on Cinepalace (A New Wave of Jazz, 2015); Webster and Lisle keep playing together in different formats and recently released the duo recording Firehouse Tapes on Webster’s Raw Tonk label.
The three new releases of these hard-working musicians offer arresting strategies of collaborative free improvisation.

John Dikeman/ Andrew Lisle / Dirk Serries / Colin Webster – Apparitions (A New Wave of Jazz, 2016) ***½

The quartet of Dikeman, Webster, Lisle and Serries recorded last year a live album, Live at Café OTO, capturing the quartet performance from April 1st, 2015 (Raw Tonk, 2015). Apparitions was recorded a day later at the Sound Savers studio in London, and as all A New Wave of Jazz releases it is a limited-edition vinyl album, with only 240 double-vinyl copies and an outrageous price for a download, €500.
Apparitions, unlike the volatile spirit of Live at Café OTO, stresses a different approach for this set of four collaborative free improvisations. Here the four musicians explore a kind of a slow-cooking interplay, a calm and conversational one. Apparitions begins and ends with the minimalist “I” and “IV”, where all restrain their playing to low whispers, skeletal guitar lines and brushing of the cymbals, building the tension tension patiently and methodically until reaching a brief and fierce climaxes. “II” and “III” up the temperature and emphasize an immediate and edgy free-associative interplay.  Serries acts as the backbone of the quartet, sculpting their course with commanding metallic-resonating, economic lines that offer a thematic bridge between the restless sax outbursts of Dikeman and Webster and the sparse and fractured pulse of Lisle.

Kodian Trio – I (A New Wave of Jazz, 2016) ****

Lisle, Serries and Webster reconvened again in October 2015 for another studio recording at the same studio in London, now calling themselves the Kodian Trio. This trio is supposed to be a working group and is already touring the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Again I is a limited-edition vinyl (240 copies with a download price of €500).
The interplay on Kodian Trio debut is much more energetic and experimental than the one explored on Apparitions. Serries and Webster alternate the leading roles, both sounding aggressive and assertive. Serries explores noisy feedback and metallic percussive terrains. Webster attacks and explodes, employing extended breathing techniques blended with dense, fast crys. Lisle avoids the abstract, fractured drumming and colors the improvised texture with inventive, fast-shifting dynamics. All three sound as pushing the sonic envelope to its extreme edges in each of the five improvised pieces.
The last two pieces, “VII” and “III”, are the most focused one. On the first one Webster flirts with a jazzy, Balkan-tinged theme while the latter develops almost like an Indian raga. Beginning with a slow and contemplative introduction of the theme, dispersed into an abstract, searching texture and then gels into a cathartic interplay, where the rough, metallic strumming of Serries collides with the fast sax shouts of Webster and the forceful drumming of Lisle.

John Dikeman / George Hadow / Dirk Serries / Martina Verhoeven / Luís Vicente – Live at Zaal 100 (Nachtstück Records, 2016) ****

This ad-hoc quintet convened on February 2016 in Anderlecht for a studio recording and later played at the Zaal 100 club in Amsterdam, releasing this live recording as name-your-price, download-only album, donating all profits to Unicef.  Dikeman plays here the tenor sax, Portuguese Luís Vicente plays the trumpet (both Dikeman and Vicente collaborate also in the Twenty One 4tet that its debut album on Clean Feed was recorded in the same venue), Serries the electric guitar and his partner Martina Verhoeven on the double bass and British, Amsterdam-based George Hadow plays the drums.
The untitled 40-minute piece begins as an urgent and explosive free jazz meeting. The charismatic Dikeman and Vicente take the lead and exchange fleeting ideas, pushed by the driving pulse of Hadow. Still, there is enough enough room for Serries and Verhoeven to shift this energetic interplay of the quintet into a more, nuanced and multi-layered searching mode. Eventually all five musicians gravitate patiently again into a tight and immediate interplay. Dikeman and Vicente still lead, but now Serries and Verhoeven alter the rhythmic basis into a restrained and minimalist drone texture that balance the eruptions of Dikeman and Vicente.” The Free Jazz Collective

YODOK III new CD reviewed

YODOK III – LEGION OF RADIANCE : LIVE AT DOKKHUSET (CD, Consouling Sounds)

“Roadburn is coming up in a few weeks and I’m sure many people are looking forward to that. I know that the good people from Consouling Sounds are, because they are about to release this gem upon the world to coincide with Yodok III’s appearance on the mother of all fuzzfests. I wish I could go to Roadburn this years, but unfortunately, I can’t. However, I’ll comfort myself with the knowledge that I’ll be seeing Yodok III at Dunk!Festival later this year.

Yodok III is the enthralling cooperation between Tomas Järmyr (Barchan, Zu), Kristoffer Lo (Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and others) and Belgium’s own drone-guru Dirk Serries (Microphonics, Vidna Obmana, Fear Falls Burning). Their work has previously been released on Tonefloat’s ‘New Wave Of Jazz’ series, which crossover jazz and experimental ambient. So yeah, these guys know a thing or two about exciting music.

‘Legion Of Radiance’ is a one track album, lasting almost seventy minutes. It combines the unique drumming of Järmyr with Lo’s deep tuba sounds and Serries’ recognizable soundscapes. The result is a gloomy and adventurous piece of music, which is best to be enjoyed with your eyes closed and your mind open. At first, the music is silent. In fact, it took me awhile before I realized that the album was already playing.

But, like all good drone and ambient albums, gradually the music swells and gains momentum. It becomes darker, deeper and more intense, minute after minute. It gets heavier, experimental and jazz-like, certainly with those energetic drums. In the end, it because every drone fan’s dream: a mature album which floats in a similar way than Smetana’s ‘Die Moldau’. Or maybe that’s just me. Fact remains, this is a brilliant album which you should definitely buy.” Merchants Of Air – Belgium

“6 out of 7 stars rating !! Yodok III gjør det ikke lett for seg med sitt nyeste album; et konsertopptak fra Dokkhuset som har manifestert seg som en mastdont av ei plate. Et langt spor som puster, peser og blåser seg ut av høyttalerne dine. Kristoffer Lo (blåsere) og Tomas Järmyr (trommer) er begge godt kjent i den norske undergrunnen; både med soloskiver og aktive i bl.a.  Sunswitch, Zu og Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Yodok III er deres samarbeid med den nederlandske frigitaristen Dirk Serries som også er kjent på den internasjonale undergrunnsarenaen med diverse bandkonstellasjoner og prosjekter.

Kvelden på Dokkhuset åpnet utrolig forsiktig, jeg må nesten skru anlegget til fullt volum, men jeg hører knapt annen en en svak knitring. Etter hvert som sporet trer frem fra høyttalernettingen hører jeg de tre i bandet puste stille og spent. Musikken føles stå helt stille, men det er kun til man har gitt seg selv tid til å finne dens grunnlinje. De første minuttene mener jeg å høre vispende cymbaler, gitarens lange linjer og hornets stille pust. En og annen detalj bryter denne langsomme overflaten, og det føles som nær sagt et haiangrep hver gang.

Men, hver for seg tar de tre musikerne stadig mer plass uten å skyve noen av de andre vekk. De øker, nesten uhørlig hvis man ikke tar seg tid, intensiteten og kraften i musikken sin etter hvert som vi kommer ut på stadig djupere vann; slag på instrumentene føles mer som fjernt torden og gir lytteren en følelse av å vite at en storm er på vei ut av platas riller. Lo og Serries er langt ute på det åpne hav og det høres ut som ansvaret faller på Järmyr hva angår å gi musikken et ankerfeste; en endring i kursen. Stadig sterkere setter et perkussivt drag og ujevne slag en hjerterytme på bandets output. De løfter seg ut av det stille vannet, og med ett høres et kort blitzslag av et gitarangrep. Like etter trekker det seg, men det er snart tilbake. Som haier som sirkler rundt sitt bytte, kommer de stadig nærmere i tettere sirkler. Igjen og igjen. Nærmere og nærmere.  Men, båndet til de første minuttene er fremdeles tydelige – her er det en glassklar, rød tråd.

En tredjedel ut i konserten hører man med ett Kristoffer Los blåsere tydeligere og man blir klar over at det med ett har oppstått en markant kursendring i bandets visjon. De bryter overflaten, Järmyr slår ut mot lytteren med raske kombinasjoner og batteriteft, mens hans kumpaner blir stadig mer høylytte i sin repetitive pust; en pust som nå høres ut som en klagesang. Det som først på plata kun var en skjør skimring er nå blitt et stormens øye – et stille sentrum som omringes, stikkes og trues av et kaotisk ytre.

Jeg tar meg i å bli imponert over bandets evne til å la denne prosessen føles sømløs; halvveis ut i albumet er deres utgangspunkt helt visket ut, men like fullt er det flere detaljer som holder bandets fokus intakt. Järmyr slipper løs sine demoner og står frem som den mørke motsatsen til sine bandkameraters zen; det brøler, buldrer, knitrer og hyler fra trommesettet hans og han fremstår som en av den nordiske undergrunnens beste instrumentalister. Stormens øye er nesten utslettet og de piskende vindene truer med å rive låta fra hverandre. Men, med ett stilner kaoset og roen makter igjen å gripe rattet.

Men, noe er forandret; tematikken til Lo og Serries er endret og for første gang kjenner jeg ikke igjen grunnlinja i musikken. Vi har begynt på en ny ferd og dette såre temaet passer bandet godt, men det får ikke holde lenge før det hele ender opp i en ny, stillfaren ferd. Denne gangen er det Järmyrs cymbaler som krydrer lydbildet med deilige detaljer, og jeg tar meg i å vente på en eksplosjon fra bandet. Den kommer dog ikke med en gang; først dobler Lo og Serries sin grunnlinje og gir den et sterkere skjelett. Men, rent bortsett fra det er det kun mikroskopiske endringer i låtas form på dette tidspunktet – Legion Of Radiance føles på dette tidspunktet som en kombinasjon av elektronisk ambient og et strykerorkester.

Men, som under den første halvdelen av albumet får de også nå et ankerfeste i melodier, og sakte, men sikkert, våger Yodok III seg ut i lyset. Järmyr er ikke like eksplosivt til stede som før, men han er likevel riktig å rette blikket mot når man ser bandet. Bandet føles her mer avslappet og har bedre tid til å la det helhetlige bildet få gripe seg fast i vår oppmerksomhet. Selv om denne andre delen er lettere, blir den stadig mørkere desto lenger ut i filmen man kommer. Men, der man i første halvdel var vitne til en kamp mellom stille og støy, er klimakset i andre del av en mer harmonisk type. I løpet av de siste fem minuttene får man følelsen av å høre disse to motsatsene stille og støy fungere nesten fullendt sammen; som en dønning på det svartblå havet ruller bandet over oss som en velsmurt maskin.” Panorama – Norway

JESU & DIRK SERRIES

JESU & DIRK SERRIES 7inch

LIMITED JUSTIN BROADRICK AND DIRK SERRIES COLLAB OUT ON 7″ AS A PRELUDE TO MICROPHONICS ALBUM #3

The exclusive and limited (300 numbered copies) 7inch RESOLUTION HEART is a continuation of Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) and Dirk Serries’ ongoing collaboration. Long overdue but with RESOLUTION HEART, Broadrick(in his Jesu fashion this time) and Serries bring their best fusion to date. As part of the prelude to Dirk Serries’ 3rd studio album under the Microphonics moniker (out later this year) the single is just perfect: a perfect melange of new wave, shoegaze and ambient minimalism. an instant classic and a perfect opening to the forthcoming microphonics album. RESOLUTION HEART (tf171) will be out on May 6, 2016, as a limited edition 7″ (300 numbered copies). Check the TONEFLOAT store for pre-order details.

On that very date, Dirk Serries will play his one and only 2016 Microphonics performances at DUNK! festival.

 

YODOK III’s ROADBURN passage reviewed

“After a late night drinking session (barbecue included!) at the Jungalow, I managed to drag my gradually increasingly tired body back to Tilburg city centre to start the third day of Roadburn with YODOK III at the Green Room. This band consists of established Belgian drone musician Dirk Serries, and the Norwegians Tomas Järmyr (from Zu) on drums and Kristoffer Lo on various bras instruments, all played through a big collection of effect pedals. Drone combined with free jazz perhaps doesn’t sound like the best combination on paper, but believe me, it actually worked together brilliantly, especially due to Tomas’ great drumming.” Echoes And Dust – UK

“Even bijkomen met Yodok III in de Green Room zou je denken, met spacy/ambient freejazz en dikke drones. Ze zijn niet geheel toevallig met z’n drieën; op gitaar (her)kennen we gitarist Dirk Serries die wel vaker van dit soort spul maakt, en die ik eerder zag in het voorprogramma van My Bloody Valentine (september 2013). Hij staat hier met drummer Tomas Järmyr en Kristoffer Lo, die de tuba gebruikt voor extra laagjes ambient/noise. De lange nummers worden ook hier omzichtig opgebouwd tot een flinke ontbranding met fijne noise en jazzy (geïmproviseerde) drums.” File Under – The Netherlands

“the next band up, was the incredible trio Yodok III, with belgian guitarist Dirk Serries and the Norwegian duo Yodok. And in an inspired 50 minutes of a single, improvised compositions they took us on a journey through amazing landscapes of both great beauty and overwhelming impact. So remarkably joyous was this experience, that the silence after they ended seemed nearly unbearable for the few seconds it took for the thundering applause to break loose. Magic.” StrangeBeautifulLiveging

“Roadburn is al jaren hét referentiefestival voor alles wat zwaar en donker is (qua muziek toch). Begonnen als een stoner- en sludgefestival, verkende het festival in de loop der jaren een meer divers muzikaal parcours. Een festivaldag brengt je tegenwoordig langs black metal, folk, psychedelica, post-hardcore, wave en zelfs vrije improvisatie, waardoor je deze keer primitief gebeuk kon afwisselen met de hardcore voodoo van Diamanda Galas, en Noordelijk geraas van corpsepaint-ventjes met de onvoorspelbaarheid van een Yodok III. Sinds gitarist Dirk Serries door het Zweeds/Noorse duo Tomas Järmyr (drums) en Kristoffer Lo (tuba, flugabone) uitgenodigd werd naar Noorwegen, leverde het al een fraaie reeks concerten en een paar goed onthaalde releases op. De release van nieuwste album (deze keer bij, waar anders, Consouling Sounds), vorig jaar live opgenomen in thuisbasis Trondheim, viel samen met dit concert.

En opnieuw werden verwachtingen meteen van tafel geveegd. Deze keer geen start op fluistervolume en geen verloop als een sinusgolf met een opwaartse beweging en een logische ontmanteling, maar meteen een krachtige energiestoot van noisy gitaargefriemel, dik aangezette effecten van Lo en, iets later, een sleutelrol voor de ontembare Järmyr, die ondanks een hels reisschema (een dag eerder zat hij nog in Brisbane, Australië) meteen zijn souplesse kon tentoonspreiden. Het was even wringen en stoten, maar ideaal om de geluidsbalans in geen tijd op punt te krijgen en het samenspel vervolgens naar iets vertrouwder terrein te sturen. Daarbij groeiden de muzikanten gestaag naar elkaar toe (iets waar zelfs een gebroken snaar niets aan kon veranderen), werd het soms onduidelijk waar tuba, gitaar en al die effecten in elkaar overliepen. De middelsectie was deze keer geen uitbarsting, maar een ingetogen verkenning vol kleine texturen die weliswaar niets inboette aan intensiteit. En dat dit wérkte, ook voor een publiek dat zo kon opdraven in een Europese Sons Of Anarchy, onderstreept dan weer de brede kijk van festival én publiek. Je kon een speld, een kruimel, horen vallen tijdens de stilste passages. Al zal het, eerlijk is eerlijk, die machtige finale zijn die het langst nazindert, door die massieve collectieve geluidsspiraal en een ontketende drummer die – compleet met razende basdrums – het boeltje voor zich uit bleef stuwen. Half vier ’s middags, en we hadden er al een knoert van een hoogtepunt op zitten.” Enola – Belgium

“In de kleine zaal van 013 opent misschien wel het meest bijzondere gezelschap de Roadburn-zaterdag. Yodok III bestaat uit de Zweedse, maar vanuit Noorwegen opererende drummer Tomas Järmyr, de Belgische gitarist Dirk Serries en de Noorse koperblazer Kristoffer Lo. De tuba en de flugabone zijn instrumenten die niet vaak op Roadburn te bewonderen zullen zijn, maar dat is wat Kristoffer Lo speelt. De klanken van die instrumenten worden wel voorzien van zoveel elektronische effecten dat je luisterend met de ogen dicht niet zou zeggen met blaasinstrumenten te maken te hebben. Yodok III brengt één lang stuk van drie kwartier dat meestentijds zindert van de ingehouden spanning. Serries en Lo zorgen met langgerekte tonen voor drone- en ambientklanken die door Järmyr worden voorzien van inventieve trom- en bekkenslagen. Langzaam wordt naar een climax toegewerkt. De eerste ontlading volgt na ongeveer tien minuten, waarna gespannen elektronische klanken lange tijd het sfeerbeeld bepalen. Naar de tweede climax wordt tergend langzaam toegespeeld. Serries bespeelt zijn gitaar met een strijkstok, Järmyr gaat staan om louter zijn bekkens te beroeren en Lo tovert al zittend elektronische klanken tevoorschijn en blaast op zijn flugabone en later op zijn tuba. De spanning neemt langzaam toe en ontlaadt zich pas in de laatste paar minuten in een fantastische apotheose. Voor Opduvel het hoogtepunt van het hele festival. Ja, Neurosis meegeteld.” Opduvel – The Netherlands.

 

DIKEMAN/SERRIES/AQUARIUS

tombedCOVER

DIKEMAN / SERRIES / AQUARIUS – NIGHT REALMS (Tape, Tombed Visions Records)

Like a slow crawl from midnight into the dawn, Night Realms by Saxophonist John Dikeman, guitarist Dirk Serries and drummer René Aquarius is sustained force in atmosphere, mood and colour and at its very core a brilliant and totally unified example of instant composition. Ignoring the tried and tested interplay of similar trios in a free improvisational setting, Dikeman, Serries and Aquarius astonishing first meeting at Kunstgroep de Compagnie in the Netherlands almost feels narrative in its delivery, all three players contributions creating a dense and slowly evolving drama that is so welcomingly refreshing precisely because it goes exactly what it expected of this grouping of instruments. It is this fact definitively that attracted me to releasing this awesome piece of music. Aquarius percussion thunders on the toms and bass drums and adds scenes of fragility in his propulsive cymbal work. Serries conjures sheets of sound from his guitar that grow slowly in mass, accenting his chords with tasteful tone manipulation and slow curls in volume. Dikeman is the most busy of the trio, spiralling round Rene and Dirk’s miasmas of sound with blustering multiphonics, raw blues power and an inquisitive delicateness that show the huge range of one of the music’s most accomplished and deservedly acclaimed saxophonists. It is as if all three are stalking the moonlight like wolves, howling in unison in a very spiritual way. Honouring tradition, but never allowing themselves to be stunted by it. I not only applaud them for that, but for the sheer will they’ve shown in creating their own entire scene in Europe for this music, for which ‘Night Realms’ will surely be held as a key document of.  Now available through the fantastic Tombed Visions Records.

CYCLE reviewed


“Karen Willems opent de poort naar CYCLE en schraapt de keel van haar drums, richting stille soundscape met Martina Verhoeven en Dirk Serries. Er staat iets op til, weten ze ons te vertellen. Geen enkel instrument pocht nu, stil in de verte en tonaal breekbaar en totaal harmonieus…heel erg mooi

Martina Verhoeven dompelt als repetitieve architect een frame van contrabas onder de leden van haar twee kameraden. Het kader bestaat uit latten lage toonregisters en omvat een druipend canvas, vol bewoners met een repetitieve strijkerscultuur.
Dirk Serries, soms minimaal en andere keren schuimbekkend verdwijnt, komt terug kijken, spuugt woest om zich heen als ze richting free-jazz gaan. Tuurlijk, het kind moet een naam hebben, maar laat het nu juist die jazz zijn in minimalistic impro-jazz die Cycle het minst typeert. Wat deze muziek zo boeiend maakt is dat de luisteraar op elk moment kan inpikken en elk moment mee is. Als luisteraar “mee” zijn met het verhaal van improvisatie siert deze geluidskunstenaars.
Cycle ondergaat continu metamorfoses en heeft het van de onderlinge dynamiek met Karen Willems als zwart gat, zelfs als ze stil speelt. De cycle is een paar keer rond geweest en de sounds blaakten bijwijlen van schone puurheid of pure schoonheid…
Mede mogelijk gemaakt door Wim Christiaens en mijn nieuw belastingsparadijs cinéPalace.

Daarnaast ook zaterdag te horen op More Music! – Karen Willems ‘In Dialogue’ with Benjamin Glorieux & Chve & Cycle in ‘t concertgebouw. Ervaar nooit tweemaal hetzelfde… Aanrader !” Klankschap – Belgium

Photography by Stephan Vercaemer.

New Wave Of Jazz Reviews

KODIAN TRIO – I (LP, Tonefloat’s New Wave Of Jazz)
DIKEMAN/LISLE/SERRIES/WEBSTER – APPARITIONS (2xLP, Tonefloat’s New Wave Of Jazz)

“Two marvellous vinyl-only releases from Tonefloat’s New Wave of Jazz imprint, containing scruffy and abrasive sessions from interrelated personnel. Kodian Trio sees the titular threesome of Colin Webster, Andrew Lisle and Dirk Serries blast through five tracks, mashing free improv clicks and clatters with free jazz-inspired hoots and hollers, all wrapped up in a waistcoat of gimlet-eyed punk attitude. Its companion Apparitions sees the trio joined by saxophonist John Dikeman for a four-headed horn-guitar and drum attack.

The similarity of line up and ferocity of planning on these two releases prompts us to consider them as a single set, like those Miles Davis’ quintet records on Prestige, even though they were laid down on separate dates. Still, I like to think of them taking place during one particularly frenetic session in a grubby basement somewhere, with Dikeman arriving just in time to inject a final burst of energy into the trio’s free-form jags (if you’re listening to the trio first) or, alternatively, laying down some molten licks to the other three’s broken-glass attack before slipping out into the night (if you start with the quartet). They’re both great, anyway, gritty and detailed in places, piercing and fluid in others, each player’s contribution well defined but never smothering anyone else with too much juice. And, while there’s possibly more space on the trio record, the quartet album offers up a nice contrast, its dense aggression positively glowering with dark energy.

The lack of a bassist means that there’s not exactly a surfeit of low-end on either record – save Colin Webster’s fine bass sax drones and howls, which on occasion sound like field recordings from some daemonic lair deep in the abyss – and this, as well as the attitude, occasionally has me fantasising that I’m listening to a Fugazi bootleg from a parallel universe, especially when Dirk Serries’ barbed wire guitar mangling strafes out into the rugged mire. He has some great moments on the Kodian Trio record in particular, wrenching out some furious, muck-splattered chords from a morass of fuzz on V as the other two flail around, desperately trying to avoid being sucked into the swamp, before they lock together for a full-on grindcore pummelling. He’s in slightly more restrained form on VIII, almost jazzy at times, essaying forth with some stuttering Bailey-meets-Grant-Green chops and cuts.

The various interlocking Venn diagrams of jazz-flavoured experimental underground musicks means that most of the personnel on these two discs have played, and recorded, with each other at least once in the past (this particular quartet can be heard in characteristically feisty form on the Live At Café Oto recording from Webster’s own Raw Tonk label). Webster’s at the centre of this mosaic, although whether this is due to an inspired nose for putting teams together or simply because I’ve kept an eye on him since his fruitful collaboration with avant-electro-turntablist Graham Dunning, I’m not sure.

Drummer Andrew Lisle has become one of Webster’s regular crew since Red Kite , a trio recording with Alex Ward, although the later Firehouse Tapes, in which Lisle and Webster go head-to-head in a furious duo jam is one I’d most recommend as an entry point (both are Raw Tonk releases and both are worth getting). Lisle is great at matching precision with force, and he is on hurricane-level form across these records, his kit-scrambling fusillades never quite blurring into indefinable noise even at their most explosive. He feels slightly groovier on the Kodian Trio album, especially on II, where his rollicking tom-rolls, rim shots and glints of cymbal bring forth images of a multi-limbed jazz cyborg. On the quartet record, meanwhile, he’s more ruthless, expunging grooves and replacing them either with all-out attack, pushing the other three forward in a primal rage of snare and cymbal, or a kind of alienated distance, holding up the action with disembodied thunks.

You get both Lisle moods on this record’s II (both albums favour Roman numerals for their track listing). At first, he’s content with a restrained patter, matching Serries’ spacey drone as the two saxes push out into looping moans and cries, one horn (possibly Webster) rasping around in the bass frequencies, buzzing with a kind of submerged rage as the other (probably Dikeman) explores a higher register, coiling around itself in a tangle of blowing. There’s plenty of tension, and the four keep it brewing for as long as they can before letting rip in all directions, filling every inch of space with a proper Jackson Pollock squall. That outburst plays itself out relatively quickly, leaving a silky, bible-black drift that’s almost post-rock in its abstractness, at first punctuated only by Lisle’s’ disjointed clatter and Serries’ fitful chord fuzz, although the squeaks and honks of the saxes ease back in whenever there’s a gap.

Merciless, dread-soaked builds are a key characteristic of Apparitions, the quartet managing to ratchet tension up to a point of unbearable cacophony with such skill that one wants them to defer the eventual release into whirlpools of sonic rubble almost indefinitely. Savouring the incipient sense of dread often trumps the euphoria of the release here, and tracks often move from a hazy, black-helicopters-on the horizon sense of eeriness through to a near-hysterical chorus of skronk and wails. Indeed, rather than bursting out in an EDM-style release, tracks often fall apart in a gristly mess, although it is deliberate demolition rather than unplanned collapse  – perhaps a cheeky reminder that the journey is often far more interesting than the destination. In any case, Apparitions and Kodian Trio are a couple more fine messes for these expert players to add to their CVs, essential documents for anyone interested in the emerging generation of far-out smashers and blowers.” We Need No Swords – UK