2017 CD release.
With a band that’s been around for thirteen years, one might reasonably ask with a new recording, what’s new here? Are there now dance beats superimposed on the music? Maybe some electronics? A different instrumentation, or perhaps some special guests? The answer on this recording – the eighth official document of this improvising quartet since it started in 2004 - is a resounding no. It’s the same old stuff – a band fiercely committed to reconciling the constantly evolving ideas that each of its members brings to the table as improvisers.
Sure, you can look at the superficial. Flaten hauls out the electric here for the first time with this band, as an example. That sounds different. But the quartet’s underlying methodology remains the same despite the outward-facing sonic results. The tension of resolving individual ideas and interests requires constant attention, and the intensity and focus for which this quartet’s long-form improvisations are known feed off of that commitment.
Hashing this musical and intellectual dialogue out for over a decade now, the band’s evolution over time is no joke. But those early days of regular work when all four members lived in the same city and could sort it out in a more leisurely manner are long gone. Instead, each one of these musicians travels the world with a myriad of bands, and borrows new perspectives from each one. Interestingly, as each member’s path diverges further, the quartet tours that take place once every year or so provide the backdrop by which to measure those tectonic shifts.
The music on Cochonnerie demonstrates exactly that type of shift, without moving an inch. A band that hasn’t played a gig for over a year convenes in Chicago to get reacquainted over two nights at the start of a two-week North American tour in the fall of 2015. But the idea of having a warm up period flies out the window as these four dive in fearlessly as ever. Whatever the difference in the sonic output may be on this record compared to previous outings, their fundamental commitment towards reconciling individual ideas into a coherent and compelling sound is exactly what continues to fuel the laser-bream focus and relentless energy on display here.
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