Barry Cleveland: Four Foreign CD Reviews with Audio Streaming

| May 23, 2013

Here are four very interesting CDs released in late 2012 that I intended to review previously, but which slipped through the proverbial cracks for various reasons. Two are jazz discs from Sweden, one is an entirely improvised collaboration between Hungarian and American artists, and the third is a solo album from a composer based in Istanbul. I hope that you dig them, and if so, that you will consider supporting these fine artists. —BC

Håkan Goohde

The music on this excellent Swedish jazz trio recording traverses diverse stylistic territory, with fascinating time, tempo, and tonal twists and turns along the way. Goohde’s playing ranges from wonderfully melodic to intricately angular, at times embodying Bill Frisell’s ease and openness, Ben Monder’s mysterious harmonic sensibilities, and Robert Fripp’s esoteric intervallic excursions—yet ultimately articulating a distinctly personal musical statement. Gason Jazz.

Track: “001”
Buy it here.

Örjan Hultén Trio & Johan Berke
The Dead

Another Swedish jazz release, this one featuring guitarist Johan Berke along with saxophone, bass, and drums—with everyone utilizing an array of effects that include loopers, an E-H Frequency Analyzer, a Korg Kaossilator, an Alesis Bitrman, and an Eventide TimeFactor. The music spans ’70s-era-style jazz (“Dead Souls,” obviously an homage to Weather Report’s “Mr. Gone”) to darkly brooding electronic amalgams to diverse compositions combining both of those elements with more ECM-like sensibilities and spoken word (“Islands in a Different Sea”). Berke’s often-understated guitar work is as tasteful as it is imaginative. Artogrush.

Track: “II”
Buy it here.

Kevin Kastning, Sándor Szabó, Bálazs Major

The preternaturally prolific Kastning (12-string bass-baritone and baritone classical guitars, piano) and his longtime collaborator Szabó (classical, 16-string, and 10-string viola caipira guitars, guzheng), return with another collection of entirely improvised pieces, this time with percussionist Major, who also joined them on 2011’s equally intriguing Triptych. This is intricate and sometimes enigmatic music that rewards engaged and repeated listening, due both to the extraordinary range of timbres the guitarists elicit from their unique instruments, and the uncommonly nuanced interaction of the musicians, which also serves as a de facto master class on listening. Greydisc.

Track: “Memory and Stirring”
Buy it here.

Erdem Helvacioglu
Timeless Waves

Turkish composer Helvacioglu plays several instruments including the electronic variety—but on this album his Les Paul and GuitarViol (a bowed instrument tuned like a guitar) provide the source sounds, albeit often processed beyond recognition. The seven pieces, named for emotions (“Fear,” “Love,” etc.), were originally intended for a 47-channel outdoor sound installation, and their typically sparse structures reflect that—but Helvacioglu’s subtly engaging guitar work and masterful use of effects keep things interesting throughout. Imagine tapes of Pink Floyd and Derek Bailey cut up and transformed into musique concrète by Pierre Schaeffer. Sub Rosa.

Track: “Sadness”
Buy it here.

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