Spime 2019

May 18, 2021

Cosmic and Spontaneous Gestures
LFSD Records 014

Long before the EU was created, European improvisers were involved in the free exchange of ideas and concepts. A time-honored medium for this was festivals featuring ad hoc international bands. Organized by the French Le Fondeur de Son (LFSD) collective, Spime 2019 collates 16 performances by mixed and matched musicians from LFSD and similar groups from Denmark, Portugal and Italy. A certain cadence is needed in these extemporaneous meetings, with the specter of failure looming as much as success. Luckily the former is at a minimum. Still extended creations are more effective than the briefer ones.

Confirmation of this comes in Danish bassist Jonathan Aardestrup’s “Master Fatrman”, the nearly 11-minute final track. The polyphonic arrangement splits the narrative between high pitches from Portugal Paulo Chagas’s flute and the torqued brassiness of French trumpeters Nicolas Souchal and Jérome Fouquet, with the bottom provided by guitar flanges from France’s Niels Mestre, Aardestrup’s power pulsations and slap percussion from Italy’s Marcello Magliocchi plus melodica-like whistles and plastic idiophone-like pops from France’s Yoram Rosilio. As the reeds and brass slide the exposition into melodic fluidity the excitement level reaches such a peak that some vocally yell as they play. Rosilio’s bass work is featured on his own “Zahrtot” whose Cop-show style theme exhibits his twanging guitar-like facility as well as the bull fiddle’s anchoring power. The surging composition adds drums and bass connections, while its evolution is broken up with snarls and smears from the trumpet and Dane Mia Dyberg’s alto saxophone. Chagas’s nasal oboe tone is the center of “Structuralismes Hétérogéniques” composed by Italian trombonist Carlo Mascolo, whose swelling plunger work is prominent on other tunes, but not his own. Instead the oboe’s trilling purr is framed in hushed atmosphere, doubled by Souchal’s capillary smears and bookended by Aardestrup’s pizzicato slaps and Rosilio’s arco filigree.

Except for Dyberg’s harmonized sax and oboe within the context of a dirge-like march on “Den andens sted” and the motion on the fully improvised “Le Budella” with its mumbles and gobbles meeting cymbal claps, many of the other tracks are too short to make proper points. Overall though, the session suggests that these meetings will continue to thrive long after separation currents like Covid-19 and Brexit are bad memories.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Tutti 2. Paris Arc 3. Flussi Condotti 4. Tension 5. Zahrtot 6. Dugvåd 7. Står Sammen 8. Magma 9. Structuralismes Hétérogéniques 10. Narrativa da escuridão 11. Political Rhetoric 12. Tourbillon 13.Metamorfico 14. Le Budella 15. Den andens sted 16. Master Fatman (Jonathan Aadestrup)

Personnel: Nicolas Souchal, Jérome Fouquet (trumpet); Carlo Mascolo (trombone); François Mellan (sousaphone); Jean-Michel Couchet, Mia Dyberg (alto saxophone); Paulo Chagas (oboe, soprano saxophone, flute); Sandra Giura Longo (flutes); Niels Mestre (guitar); Jonathan Aardestrup, Yoram Rosilio (bass); Marcello Magliocchi, Pedro Santo (drums)