ELG LER – S/T

Dario Trapani – electric guitar
Giuseppe Romagnoli – double bass
Stefano Costanzo – drums, bells and objects

Take Your Lover And Dance
Dream Cars
Viva La Quica
Elg Ler
Al Citofono Siamo Tutti Io
Gioggio Gabber
A Bird Told Me
Esperanto
(30.54)

Honolulu Records HR-10, 2017

If you like your guitar tone twangy, your bass rounded and subtle, and your drums dry and immediate then Elg Ler have the sound you’re looking for. If you enjoy multi-faceted compositions and improvisation that change with attention-deficit frequency while serving up some surprising nostalgia, then you’re going to love this. To pick out some of the many highlights…

Take Your Lover And Dance rest on a bare, sparse structures, engaging melodic fragments, with unexpected textures… In Viva La Quica, jagged free jazz stabbings contrast with the roiling ferment of bass and drums… Al Citofono Siamo Tutti Io is a joyous, jagged collage in which the apparently disparate contributions overlap, blur and merge into an unsettling whole… Elg Ler starts languorous, steps up to a vaguely Cuban rhythm allied to no-wave guitar shards before subsiding into a brief pointillistic minimalism – rinse & repeat for a hypnotic experience scarred with unnerving details…

A Bird Told Me is annoying – I know that intro, I just can’t remember where from, but I do know that I’m really going to kick myself when I get it. Ah well, I’ll just have to keep listening, over and over, until I remember. No hardship that because this is, in some ways, the highlight of the disc; endlessly and subtly shifting perspective and shape, inviting you to relax but never quite allowing you to be comfortable enough to do so.

There’s a thread of the past to much of this disc – at any moment, a tune could morph into some lost 80s pop tune. Of course, it never does – this record is too smart and too sly for that. instead, the kaleidoscope of patterns keeps you guessing with its nods to the past while the overall reality is anything but retro.

Put simply, “S/T” offers to put you in a state of pleasure with an undercurrent of tense uncertainty – sounds like modern times to me…