If the duo is the most conversational form of jazz, the script for I Love It When You Snore
could have been written by Samuel Beckett. Paal Nilssen-Love and especially Mats Gustafsson are a couple of the best known players to emerge out of the '90s Scandinavian free/avant jazz scene, having recorded plenty with the likes of Ken Vandermark and Peter Brötzmann. This brief thirty-two minute duo recording is more unusual than most of the other of the already exceptional recordings either has been involved with. Gustafsson really brings it on with his unique vocabulary of abstract, pops, clicks, squeaks, screams, and howls.
There’s a very strange dynamic created between his baritone sax, which he plays exclusively throughout this recording, and Nilssen-Love’s rolling, percussion explorations. They’re both working a particularly unemotional space here, focusing on creating more intellectually challenging soundscapes. Sometimes they seem to be channeling the most abstract, beatless electronica through their warmer, acoustic instruments, played by human hands and minds instead of laptop computers. Their stutter-step improvisations demand your undivided attention, and they will reward it too. But this is definitely not background music.
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This review originally appeared in All About Jazz: Los Angeles .