Adrian Northover / Sue Lynch / Ulf Mengersen / Adam Bohman

April 8, 2021

Grappling with the Orange Porpoise

Creative Sources CS 646 CD

Voyages to the far reaches of the improvised universe, the chemical formula that this league of four discover expands into sonic space where few have ventured before mixing acoustic instruments, preparations and objects. Like some space explorers the quartet members have extensive experience in similar weightless thematic environment; and like recent rocket flights this crew in multinational.

German Ulf Mengersen, from Berlin Improvisers Orchestra contributes low pitches with bowed and prepared bass strings, while more elevated tones are all sourced in London. A member of the Reverse Collection, Sue Lynch plays tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute, while Adrian Northover, a member of the Runcible Quintet plays alto and soprano saxophones, synthesizer and melodica, while fellow London Improvisers Orchestra member Adam Bohman projects extraterrestrial textures with prepared strings and objects.

Throughout the 10 tracks the crackles and crinkles, static and squeezes from the objects make backdrop or provocation for the reed players’ strained peeps, squeaks and yaps and the bassist’s string strokes, stops or scratches. While the journey ventures into much unexplored territory, no matter how many disjoined wood-rending stretches or split tone vibrations are heard, the thematic vessel never breaks up during the exploratory journey. Furthermore, tremolo melodic expansions or distinctive saxophone expositions on tracks such as “Concrete, Concussion and Cranberries”, confirm, that as with every outer space voyage, ingenious human know-how must be applied. Bohman’s launch pad-like clamor and metallic scrubs against equally unyielding material as well as Mengersen’s sul tasto and col legno strains and pops create the unexpected textures that live up to the CD’s and tracks’ Dadaist title (s).

Still the concluding “Gangrene Gagging Clause” arrives with an amiable tone and horizontal drift. Thus it shows that while unusual timbres from all provide musical thrills on this cosmic journey, associated textures mean that it docks safely without losing anything or anyone in the experimental sound miasma.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Rose Petals and Rocket Propellant 2. Concrete, Concussion and Cranberries 3. Marzipan Manipulations 4. Squiring Groceries 5. Seagull Semaphore Slump 6. Adolescent Steamroller Stomp 7. Sherbet Flavored Hysteria 8. Financial Celery Expletive Binge 9. Broken Thermos Flask Fiasco 10. Gangrene Gagging Clause

Personnel: Adrian Northover (alto and soprano saxophones, WASP synthesizer and melodic); Sue Lynch (tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute); Ulf Mengersen (bowed/prepared bass) and Adam Bohman (prepared strings and objects)