Michiyo Yagi, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug – Angular Mass (2015)

Michiyo Yagi, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug - Angular Mass (2015)
Artist: Michiyo Yagi, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug
Album: Angular Mass
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Improvisation
Label: PNL Records
Year Of Release: 2015
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

1. The Lightship 16:31
2. Angular Mass 11:18
3. Spotlight Devil 7:52
4. The Rasp 8:32
5. Pungent Poetry 19:47


Angular Mass (recorded in 2011) revolves around typical improvisational frameworks, with long excursions that move from sparse, scattered sounds to dense, loud sections and back again. The overall structure of these pieces may seem obvious, but they reserve more than a few surprises along the way, with unusual instrumental solutions and varied dynamics. Nilssen-Love alternates between his typically muscular drumming and a more restrained percussive activity, always pushing the music in different directions. Lasse Marhaug makes an excellent work on both the noisier sections and the more minimal passages with intriguing electronic textures that always retain a rich, physical quality. Throughout the album Yagi takes full advantage of the distinct sound signature of the koto, exploring its melodic and rhythmic potential or transforming its output through extended techniques, carefully avoiding the pitfalls of easy exotic characterization. The central piece of the album, Spotlight Devil, is especially interesting, and represents a peculiar change of mood, with a sombre pattern on the koto that evolves through minimal tonal variations while the beautiful textural work of percussion and electronics creates a fascinating, cinematic atmosphere, before the abstract finale returns to more familiar improvisational strategies. This record is dense with ideas and the longer tracks might be overwhelming at times, but the musicians are always aware of each other, always listening and keeping the music flowing.

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