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Tyft: Meg Nem Sa (2006)

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Tyft: Meg Nem Sa How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

One can only imagine what Hilmar Jensson has done for Iceland's jazz scene when, in our very own Park Slope, his Tyft trio has created a mélange of free jazz, rock and noise. Meg Nem Sa is an impressive second endeavor by Jensson (guitars, electronics), Andrew D'Angelo (alto sax, bass clarinet) and Jim Black (drums, electronics).

Throughout the record, D'Angelo's reed instruments swing mellifluously along with Jensson's guitar riffs, darning the tapestry of Jensson's languorous minor-key compositions. Black's pulsing rhythm and steady hand complete the unwieldy ensemble. Jensson's distorted timbre moves the music toward heavy metal, but D'Angelo's authoritative voice rides along the ebb and flow, anchoring the compositions between punk rock and free jazz.

The first half is mainly rock-influenced. "International Four has some room for improv, but for the most part, it is an energetic rock song. The angular composition begins with a wheezing sax and a restrained guitar tuning while an evaporating drum beat conducts. Suddenly, the sax leaps into gear, exploding in the still air. Black peals into a drum solo that seems spontaneous, yet calculated—like an intense skateboarding trick full of complicated jumps and loops. Then, D'Angelo and Jensson jump back in with a minor waltz. The progression from free jazz to rock libretto is at once deliberate and unexpected.

On the other end of the spectrum, the last few songs delve more into noise experimentation. "Bloq serves as a prelude into this new development: sinister whispers ricochet across hollow cylinders as the song discreetly slides into a new piece, "Sezt Nidur. Here, D'Angelo's clarinet voice sifts through the desolate reverberations. Jensson's torpid lines are just beyond his reach, but by the end of the song, the clarinet loses itself in the bleak confusion.

Jensson, who composed most of the songs on the record, manages seamlessly to weave drums, saxophone and clarinet parts into his tapestry, beginning with the boldness and belligerence of a heavy metal band but eventually moving forward into more introspective territory.

Track Listing: Led Tyftelin; Shooshabuster; International Four; Ain't No Waltz; Tumble Bugs; Meg Nem Sa; Okkar; Ouch; Flutter; Hilsner; Bloq; Sezt Nidur; Amena.

Personnel: Hilmar Jensson: guitars, electronics; Andrew DAngelo: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Jim Black: drums, electronics.

Record Label: Skirl Records

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


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