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Just Outside

 

I admit, glancing at the instrumental line-up, I was a bit fearful of a kind of free-jazz/eai balancing act, the sort of thing that leaves some amount of frustration one way or the other. Well, it is, kind of, but achieves, at least on occasion, a rather amazing amount of success. The quartet (Benoit Delbecq, prepared piano; Kim Myhr, guitar, resonant objects; Nils Ostendorf, trumpet; Toma Gouband, percussion) manage, at their best, to create a music that strikes me as similar to what Don Cherry's Eternal Rhythm band might have done if somehow transported intact to 2010. They manage to mix abstraction with implied melodic and rhythmic content in a way that's not disingenuous or cutesy, the prepared piano referencing, inevitably, gamelan but also mbira. If this occurred consistently, we'd have a truly stellar album, but the four also fall into some meandering («En Turbulence»), not terribly but routine in aspect though that too picks up a head of steam midway through. I would have liked more focus but the group gels pretty well and creates an individual sound that's enticing. Curious to hear where they go from here