Mole

Mole
Vector Sounds VS 021

Rune Your Day

Rune Your Day

Clean Feed CF 424 CD

Crafting an improvising quartet with two woodwinds with only drums and double bass behind may not be as difficult as house building. But with no chordal instruments involved, the creation has to be sophisticatedly symmetrical to give proper weight to the so-called front and back lines. Yet the younger members of the all-Norwegian Rune Your Day band maintain that equilibrium with flavor development, though despite aggressive sounding song titles, the result is more New Wave than Punk Rock. A band that could be cited as an example of how well the (pre-Brexit) EU should work, the slightly older members of Mole, include one Norwegian – alto and baritone saxophonist Petter Frost Fadnes – plus French tenor saxophonist Christophe de Bézenac, Irish bassist Dave Kane and British drummer Paul Hession. Their allegiance, as can be noted by “Albert” the title of the CD’s first track, is to an updated variant of the rough and ready 1960s New Thing characterized by the likes Albert Ayler.

Truthfully though, while that creation of reed split tones and scraping percussion could be on outtake from an LP by Ayler and fellow saxophonist Charles Tyler, “Shifting Boxes”, the subsequent track and others of the CD’s 10 tracks move at a moderate pace, driven by bass pulses and are enlivened by entwined reed strategies. Following track 2, the Mole-men alternate aviary saxophone gusts and visceral multiphonics plus rhythmic aggression with deceptively harmonized sequences that harmoniously stagger and swagger simultaneously. Kane, who also works in a trio with Matthew Bourne, uses his string finesse to drive the vibrations on “Nugget” and with drum pops of Hession, known for his cumulative work with Simon Fell and Mick Beck, helps turn “Not a Running Commentary” into an Aylerian march, replete with reed splutters. More generic to horn equity, a track such as “Fall In” is a finger snapper with the unbridled growls and gossolalia produced from Frost Fadnes’s baritone saxophone and de Bézenac’s tenor saxophone. One shibboleth also exploded here is that academics, which the two are by track, can’t blow as freely and heartily as non-scholarly folk. Most notably, “Automatic Mat Mat”, the final track wraps many of the expressed sound currents into varicolored textures that meld double bass pops, horn overblowing, and percussion taps, rolls and bubbles that the piece relates as much to Blues tonality as dissonant textural elaboration.

Moving further north, the Norwegian quartet plays around with hymn-like harmonies and atmospheric juddering alongside a walking double bass line, cymbal clanks, downward baritone sax slurs and upwards tenor sax shrills before hitting a groove with “Exit” that is actually more of an entrance. Irregular vibrations from the piggybacking reeds soon split into caustic theme variations from tenor and baritone saxophonist André Roligheten, who plays with Friends & Neighbors and the Acoustic Unity trio, and flutter tonguing from reedist Jørgen Mathisen, who has worked with the Zanussi Five and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Expressive in counterpoint, the timbres output by the two horn players sometimes suggest contrafacts of other songs with Mathisen’s solos particularly melodic. Elsewhere though, Mathisen constructs tunes out of slick clarinet puffs that blend distinctively alongside chiming double bass runs from Rune Nergaard, who, when he isn’t leading this quartet plays with groups like Bushman's Revenge. More crucially, this quartet's particular mix of Cool Jazz antecedents with dissonant spangles occurs on “Crazy 'Bout Oatmeal” and “Go Ahead Punk”, animated by Axel Skalstad’s drum ratamacues and rim clanking. The second tune burbles with anything but a Punk attitude, with entwined reed spills tonal enough to reference Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt rather than Ayler and Ornette Coleman. Accelerating to burbling snarls and jiggles in march time, the piece wiggles to a discrete climax. A Cool blending of baritone and tenor saxophone tones, the ambulating “Crazy 'Bout Oatmeal” contains bottom-feeding snores and strident pitches, but the cooperation between the two leads to a polished horizontal ending.

Transcending potential unbalance from a two reed-two rhythm set-up these Northern European quartets affect different strategies but create equally meaningful sounds.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Mole: 1. Albert 2. Shifting Boxes 3. Winter Song 4. Birdwatcher 5. Fall In 6. Nugget 7. Dur Duh 8. Boiler Ballad 9. Not a Running Commentary 10. Automatic Mat Mat

Personnel: Mole: Petter Frost Fadnes (alto and baritone saxophones); Christophe de Bézenac (tenor saxophone); Dave Kane (bass) and Paul Hession (drums)

Track Listing: Rune: 1. Living In The Pink Bubble Of Hubba Bubba 2. I'll Dance When Everybody Leaves 3. Exit 4. A Glimpse Of Hope (In The Eyes Of A Squirrel) 5. Crazy 'Bout Oatmeal 6. Go Ahead Punk! 7. 0500

Personnel: Rune: Jørgen Mathisen (tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet); André Roligheten (tenor and baritone saxophones); Rune Nergaard (bass) and Axel Skalstad (drums)