More of this kind of thing!
When the (apparently) primary instruments in a duo are piano and tenor saxophone, you expect tracks like Blåkråka and Blodrostmossa: freely-improvised interplay between familiar sounds (though even these have a different kilter to the usual free improv fare). And if Johansson and Rylander Löve had stuck to that palette, there’d be no complaints from me.
But it’s the electronic atmospheres, the industrial backwash, the occasional tuned-out vocals, the clockwork interior of the piano, the light touch mixing digital and analogue ingredients, the effortless drama, and the sheer bloody ambitious ease (!) of these varied improvisations that drove a gentle and relentless spike through the head.
Immerse yourself in the spiral kalimbas of Tvåtandad spolsnäcka, the subterranean lake of Barrskogsspinnare, the absorbing sound machine of Större vindeltrappa…
At the risk of cliché, ‘delicate’ is one word for this album but it’s a delicacy that had (and has) me pinned to the chair, absolutely rapt.
Imagine a souffle. In less sure or capable hands, this album would fall flat, the airiness of the construction unable to support itself; a sticky mess. But this? This is a structured foam of intricate sounds, scaffolded bubbles of silence trapped in perfect place.
What a gorgeous, deceptively understated adventure of an album.
Karin Johansson – piano, prepared piano, kalimba
Lisen Rylander Löve – tenor saxophone, voice, kalimba, percussion, live electronics
Arter is available on vinyl, CD and download from Havtorn Records or direct from Karin Johansson and Lisen Rylander Löve’s Bandcamp page.