Soon cs463









As promised last month, I want to note a few thoughts regarding Soon, another recent Creative Sources album (recorded May 2016 in Lisbon, so not a 2017 recording as some other recent releases are) featuring Ernesto Rodrigues in a quartet with frequent collaborators Nuno Torres & Carlos Santos (here on synth, and doing the mixing & mastering): On Soon the "new person" is Norwegian percussionist Ståle Liavik Solberg (b.1979). I had neglected Solberg, so this was a good opportunity to revisit his music, and indeed his creative & subtle playing is highlighted very well by the quartet on Soon. (For instance, Solberg uses fast & precise "clicking" on all of his albums: Perhaps it's a daxophone or something similar? It's a way to inject flurries of different numerical groupings into the ensemble phrasing.) One thing I quickly realized is that Solberg was the only member of the Hot Four quartet on Eye of the Moose that hadn't appeared again in this space. That was an oversight, but also partly caused by timing: I had only just discovered Creative Sources at the time — and indeed remained intimidated by Ernesto Rodrigues's massive discography, so it took longer to open that box. And I was still sorting through the even more massive output by English free improvisers as a group, and so had relatively little sense of what might interest me in that area. (Whether I have much more sense now probably remains a question, but I feel as though I made a decisive step around Whitewashed with Lines in June 2015 — a relevant comparison to Soon not only because of its stark precision & process orientation, but because of John Butcher's participation: He has a recent duo with Solberg on Clean Feed, So beautiful, it starts to rain, where one does find something of an intersection of these ideas.) Prior to that, however, Solberg had participated in what seems like a clear precedent for Eye of the Moose, namely a quartet called VCDC with Norwegian singer Stine Janvin Motland (instead of Andreas Backer), plus Frode Gjerstad & Fred Lonberg-Holm. (And Eye of the Moose was then mixed & mastered by Gjerstad.) I should have noticed this group, especially their second album Insult recorded in 2012, but I probably associated both Gjerstad & Lonberg-Holm with more rock-oriented (e.g. Chicago) music at that point: It took me a while to realize just how varied many musicians' outputs are in this field. (Moreover, revisiting some remarks around Kontakte Trio, Solberg had also recorded with Steve Beresford on a couple of albums from 2013, Three Babies & Will it Float?. Kontakte Trio has another similarity with Soon in that it leaves me listening to the environment, and also soon left me eager to hear it again. As for why I didn't notice Beresford sooner? I'm going to answer the same, timing: He released a handful of albums right before I started paying attention — and I regularly revisit questions such as this in order to work on my own attention process.) Anyway, the duo album with Butcher was recorded in 2015, so prior to Soon, and the others are from even earlier in the decade. Soon is recognizable as a Rodrigues album, particularly with its quiet precision, perhaps reminiscent of a quartet like Nor, but in a variant mode with Santos explicitly playing electronics: Beyond & reacting to the varied percussive shaping, there are high held tones, squeaks, hockets & broader polyphony, bent gong tones, even a sense of breath amid much austerity. There is a timeless yet serious sense, a mood I've sometimes figured as "epic," but here with an ambivalent sense of presence. The (short) last track is downright Scelsian in its eeriness, and some of the intervening interactions remind me of Nashaz (recorded not long prior) for their sense of dissonant lightness & reintegration. The different tracks on Soon, albeit with some overlap, present different moods & processes, with the more polyphonic second & third tracks catching my attention more, but this quartet also makes me revisit concepts of "use" for music in that I found the album to be refreshing & useful as a creative spur for my own work, not to mention as something that brings me into closer contact with the environment (perhaps paradoxically, given the "artificial" sounds). The impact of such use did fade a bit with time, but Solberg has my attention now. 3 November 2017. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts