Lotte Anker / Sylvie Courvoisier / Ikue Mori: Alien Huddle (2008)
Each musician has defined her improvisational palette into a wholly individualized instrument: pianist Sylvie Courvoisier coming close to Boulez-ian angularity; solemn texture and explosive gesticulation; electronicist Ikue Mori with ear-cringing percussive ostinati and; saxophonist Lotte Anker with a sense of melody and musical conversation falling most closely to the free jazz of the past 30 years. It is perhaps fitting that each track on this album is named after a bird, as the album's beginning sounds like alien fowl in a huddle, as it werethrown together and forced to converse. The avian metaphor fits best texturally for Mori's treble-heavy electronics, but also plays well with Anker's flowing solo lines in tracks such as "Crow and Raven" and "Ostrich War."
Like actual birdsong, Alien Huddle reveals itself to be most concerned with texturenot cacophony, but rather the realization that what can seem ill-fitting actually, often, makes the most sense. As a layering of individual musical songs, this trio perhaps comes closest to the most basic rhythm/harmony/melody combination of all jazz: Anker's alto layered on top of Courvoisier's chromatic harmony on top of Mori's crispy, arrhythmic beats. The mood of this trio is usually solemn and outspoken on tracks such as "Dancing Rooster Comp," but also blasts full-on in tracks like "Ostrich War." The most interesting creation of this particular group, besides the very clear gestures of emotion and communication, is that its roles switch constantly: in this album's textural huddle, it's the collective output that trumps the individual's contribution.
Track Listing: Morning Dove; Woodpecker Pecks; Sparkling Sparrows; Night Owl; Robins Quarrel; Dancing Rooster Comp; Whistling Swan; Crow And Raven; Blackbird; Ostrich War; Great White Heron.
Personnel: Lotte Anker: soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax; Sylvie Courvoisier: piano; Ikue Mori: electronics.
Record Label: Intakt Records
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde