Jul 10 2016
What’s most fascinating about Mini Macro Ensemble (2nd Edt Vol1) is how fluid improvisations emerge from a foundation that, for all intents and purposes, should weigh the ensemble down and keep it locked into a planned flight pattern. Anders Lønne Grønseth adds heavy doses of chamber, Nordic jazz and Indian musics, both in terms of instrumentation and approach, and by focusing on the commonalities of improvisational methods, his ensemble repeatedly attains a motion as free as a forest stream wending its way through the trees.
Opening track “Aureolin” has the complementary yet competing motions of melodic solos versus rhythmic flow, not unlike the way in which hawks soar on the drafts of a stiff breeze. Here, the Indian music influence shines strongest, and the chamber and jazz elements fall right into place. Similarly, “Orchid” has an intoxicating chamber music allure that wraps itself around a slowly unfolding groove that seeks to hypnotize with only the slightest suggestive hint. It’s not unlike the presence of “Fuchsia” except that the woodwinds are as ethereal as morning sunlight and percussion elicits a patter that borders on meditative, and when the piano solo begins is when the big reveal of the jazz influence makes its mark. This, too, on “Heliotrope,” where the melody arrives disassembled and becomes increasingly scattered as the song goes on. “Auro Metal Saurus” also possesses a disembodied formlessness, but its harmonic emphasis provides the song a heavy presence.
After “Coquelicot” brings in a swirling groove reminiscent of the intro, the album ends with a trio of pieces that veer into contemplative territory that borders, at times, on an ambient drone. The ensemble clearly relishes the opportunity this provides to layer the harmonies on thick while simultaneously ornamenting things with little melodic details and nuance.
A very thoughtful recording, existing sometimes in a state of introspection but always in constant motion. It makes for a very potent combination.
Your album personnel: Anders Lønne Grønseth (soprano, baritone & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet), Hanne Rekdal (concert, alto & bass flutes, bassoon), Morten Barrikmo (soprano, bass & contrabass clarinets), Martin Taxt (tuba), Sigrun Eng (cello), Audun Ellingsen (double bass), Anders Aarum (piano, Fender Rhodes) and Andreas Bratlie (tabla, percussion).
Released on Pling Music.
Music from the Oslo, Norway scene.