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Dans les arbres: Dans les arbres

In 2004 two of the leaders of improvisational music in Norway, guitarist Ivan Grydeland and percussionist Ingar Zach contacted ECM recording artist Christian Wallumrød and French clarinetist Xavier Charles and Dans les arbres was born. Their debut self-titled release has finally seen the light of day in the U.S. after a two year wait.

This is an all-acoustic album with some intriguing instruments such as banjo and sruti box played by Grydeland. Although acoustic there are many moments throughout the CD that sound electronic, particularly the drone-like sounds of the sruti box come to mind. The music is very subtle, minimalistic and atmospheric and nary a composition to be found. These are not really songs in the traditional sense but atonal/tonal explorations in different textures and timbres with a definite free form approach. It is a very mellow album, although the sounds can be quite dark like in the foreboding "La Retenue" where clarinet adds to the minimalistic drone that is downright eerie or the stark alienation that is exhibited in "La Froideur" (The Coldness). The song titles do a fine job matching the music particularly in the atmospheric "L'Engourdissement" (The Numbness) where the droning sounds slice through plucked banjo for quite an unusual effect. The album's most ethnic offering is "Le Flegme" (The Phlegm) where deep resonating hums and a tribal rhythmic pattern emerges from the dissonant abyss.

It is all very well done but after listening to the entire album I was really wanting a compositional song if nothing else but to break up the experimental nature of the recording. This is not an album that is easily digested and may take many spins to reap the benefits. For me personally, I am not sure I want to invest the time but I give these talented musicians credit for making such an ambitious piece of work.

Track Listing:
1. La Somnolence
2. L'Indifférence
3. Le Flegme
4. L'Engourdissement
5. Le Détachement
6. Le Froideur
7. L'Assoupissement
8. Le Retenue

Added: January 16th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label Official Site
Hits: 1942
Language: english

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