Nico Hixijbregts - piano
Gerard van der Kamp - alto & soprano saxophone
Harmjan Roeles - bass
Vindu Records 2011
I already wrote that I'm always greedy for new names and this cd gives me that in abbundance. Improvised music has come a long way since John Coltrane's Quartet, the birth of the "New Thing", and this band plays a music that comes directly from this tradition of sax quartet playing and the tradition of more european ways of improvisation.
"Frederic" puts you straight into the right mood, it starts wild and invasive. Piano strings are being hurt, air is being pierced. It does mellow a little in the middle, to engage in subter forms of exploration, twisting the melody lines into complicated shapes, but get back in the saddle towards the end.
Tracks 2 through 6 are miniatures (around one - one and half a minute), short musical escapades, creatng together a mosaic if you like, small collection of sonic sketches, all diferent in texture, mini-games on the nature of improvisation. With spare sounds os saxophone over dreamy touches of piano and somewhat steady beat of "Chicken B" being my personal favourite. Dense or spare, dots and lines, blurried or extra-clear lines all being in the vocabulary used. (There's an extra number here on the disc as the booklet mentions only 7 tracks while the cd-player shows me 8)
The highlight for me is the longest (nearing 17 minutes) "Grasbestlevend", very opened piece, long ensemble exploration. Starts greatly with piano and saxophone duelling, lightning fast piano chords, powerfull, joined by ultra-high arco sounds of bass. Music that is often quite mad in its persistance, almost scary, direct, emotional and twisted. The groove and the drive they get into around 6th minute into the track is completely captivating. So is the frenetic drums playing futher into the track. And they even get to swing lighlty near the end!
This cd reminds me a lot of the "Return of the New Thing" - ensemble led by Dan Warburton, and it should be only understood as a compliment for this band's ability to travel the sea of sound. With little more than 30 minutes of music, this is intense and satisfying. Plus it comes in a really intriguing package - multiple times folded cover that seems like a little labirynth itself. Highly recommended if you manage to find it.
You can listen to 3 of the miniatures and "Eskie" (the track which ends the album and I did not write about) on the band's myspace page