A tasty trio here, formed by Mostly Other People Do The Killing saxophonist Jon Irabagon alongside a pair of noisy Norwegians, Nils Are Drønen and John Hegre (the latter a founding member of Jazzkammer with Lasse Marhaug). Wow! Axis finds these guys sparking off each other for some deep-down instant composition. Released by Rune Grammofon.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 20 February 2017
An LP of two twenty minute tunes involving saxophonist Jon Irabagon, improviser Nils Are Dronen and collaborator John Hegre? On Rune Grammafon? It’s just an inkling, but I have it nonetheless: this is gonna be a skronky record.
A trio that arguably speak to the label’s wonderful marriage of free jazz and rock music (the press release pointing out that Dronen’s two favourite records are by Miles Davis and KISS), this record is sprinkled with anything from Peter Brotzmann’s stylings to Toby Driver’s, a slow-building, metal-flecked piece of improvisation that at times is strikingly peaceful and at other times as furious as an imploding star. As “Berlin” continues, guitars crawl around the room like an escaping spider, rapid then paused, as Irabagon utilises an overblowing style connected to Pharoah Sanders -- it’s ugly and blasted, aggressively expressing the little dissonant rolls he’s offering.
A lot of the best moments on this record are in the calm, those bits that tease a player’s full power through hints and whispers. On the opening of “Fukuoka” a plethora of abandoned sounds mingle with one another, Irabagon blowing without the music to match, merely flecking and kissing his sax as drums flicker like a candle and a palm-muted guitar extracts slabs of metallic sound. It’s an almost mesmerizingly downbeat kinda free jazz, alluding to the heady intensity they can reach without having to hand it over to you. A great set of momentary lapses in jazz.
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- Axis by Irabagon, Hegre & Drønen
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