Recommended: Erik Hove Chamber Ensemble – “Polygon”


The melodies of Polygon are presented more as concepts than definitive statements, and that approach gives the Erik Hove Chamber Ensemble the freedom to warp and twist and bend them in any way their imagination chooses.  This alone is pretty compelling, but what’s particularly fascinating is that no matter how misshapen those melodies might become, they maintain a fluid motion throughout.  And when this quality, in turn, is set loose within a rhythmic environment that exists in a perpetual state of upheaval, the contrast between flowing and choppy motions draws the attention in all kinds of directions.

At its most extreme, this dichotomy becomes a battle between a drone and a maelstrom on “Inversions,” where the range from tranquility to tumult is explored at every point in between.  But more often, the saxophonist’s ensemble focuses on a smaller patch of turf, like on “Tessellation” and how rhythmic twittering and long melodic sighs mimic a field of crickets singing to the moon in a sky full of stars.  The motion of “Metal Clouds” is compact and sticks to a tight orbit, and the revolutions give it a sense of the endless, where no resolution will ever be reached.  “Fractured” doesn’t stray from that formula, but adopts a bouncing motion that gives the song an entirely different personality, one that eschews introspection for playful enthusiasm.  And then there’s how title-track “Polygon” toys with the perception of speed, where the tempo gives the sense of a swiftly advancing melody moving in slow-motion.

Erik Hove’s 2014 release Saturated Colour was pretty damn intriguing.  His newest shows that quality to be a mainstay of his music.

Your album personnel:  Erik Hove (alto sax, clarinet, flute, electronics), Anna Webber (flute, alto flute), Krisjana Thorsteinson (oboe), Krista Martynes (clarinet, bass clarinet), Andy King (trumpet), Kate Bevan-Baker (violin), Jean René (viola), Jane Chan (cello), Rémi-Jean Leblanc (bass) and Evan Tighe (drums).

Released on Inner Circle Music.

Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Montreal, Québec.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon