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Strønen, Thomas: Time Is A Blind Curve – Lucus

Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen presents a revised edition of his acoustic collective Time Is A Blind Guide, trimming his ensemble's number to a quintet, and with a new pianist in Wakayama-born Ayumi Tanaka in place. Tanaka has spoken of seeking associative connections between Japan and Norway in her improvising, a tendency Strønen seems to be encouraging with his space-conscious writing, his style letting in more light than many care to. As on the group's eponymously-titled and critically-lauded debut album there are excellent contributions from the string players - the quintet effectively containing both a string trio and a piano trio - and Manfred Eicher's production brings out all the fine detail in the collectives' sound.

From that you might have taken that to Stronen space is as important as the actual sounds in this work and you'd be right. The likes of "Tension" does find this talented group of musicians filling the voids and cleverly leading you on a continuous journey but more often than not this atmospheric outing is more concerned with letting the listener take control and deciding the album's destination. It's not laziness on Stronen's part, it's trust. Through clicking percussion, lightly stabbing strings and the meander of piano the outlines of evocative images are sketched in quite fine detail and deftness of touch, but the final image is conjured in the listener's mind. No narrative forced or foisted, allowing the individual to bring their own thoughts and experiences to the music and expand on the base created by "Truth Grows Gradually" or "Lucas". Pinning everything in place and allowing an anchor for both music and listener is the double bass work of Ole Morten Vågan, its unobtrusive foundations taking on an ever greater importance in the atmosphere's direction and tone, and while this album avoids forcing its feelings on you, the overall tone created is heady and involved.

And yet it's the lightness of touch that makes the most lasting impression, the willingness to dart from almost brutish displays to the most small, intricate offering keeping you fully focused throughout. That strength can become a weakness if you encounter this album in the wrong setting – concentration and dedication required to unravel the secrets undoubtedly hidden within. However when you give the time and attention back to this album that it wants to convey to you, the effect is long lasting and not a little uplifting, even if, at its heart, this is an austere and remote exercise.

Track Listing
1. La Bella
2. Friday
3. Release
4. Lucus
5. Fugitive Places
6. Baka
7. Wednesday
8. Truth Grows Gradually
9. Islay
10. Weekend

Added: March 4th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Thomas Strønen on faceboook
Hits: 1295
Language: english

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