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Poolplayers: Way Below The Surface (2008)

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Poolplayers: Way Below The Surface How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Sublimely titled, there is indeed something Way Below The Surface happening on this fifty-eight minutes of music making. There, just beyond your vision (perhaps in your ears) flows a current of thought, emotion and meaning.



Readers might find this description vague as to details, but Poolplayers intentionally conceal the bright lines and themes evident in modern music. This collaboration of Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen (Supersilent), French pianist Benoít Delbecq, British drummer Steve Argüelles (Ambitronix and PianoBook) and Danish drummer Lars Juul (Sound of Choice and Takuan) was recorded without subsequent remixing in luxurious hybrid five-channel SACD and two-channel stereo.



Where in the past improvised music tended towards energy and noise, this quartet opts for quiet and an ominous meditation. Each player dabbles in electronics, skewing the sound with very subtle undercurrents. Delbecq, a long time artist with the Songlines label, is a master of the prepared piano. He delivers an off-centered rumination, perhaps what a young Keith Jarrett might have accomplished if modern electronics were available in the 1970s.



The reflective nature of this session must be credited to trumpeter Arve Henriksen. His study of minimalist Japanese shakuhachi music and recordings for Rune Grammofon display his talent as master minimalist. Paired with Delbecq, the unhurried fragile sounds draw you into this music deeper than you could ever expect.



That quality can also be credited to drummer Lars Juul's imaginative accenting—not necessarily the beat, but the depth. He is the chop on the water, the waves lapping the shore, often the motion or movement. If not for the implications imposed by the undercurrent of electronics delivered through delays, loops, filters and circuits, this might just be another minimalist session. Steve Argüelles shifts the music in very subtle ways into new directions, shaping sometimes without the listeners' awareness a path into a new acoustic and electric sound.



Indeed it is true, calm waters run deep. This impressive session is both deep and mysteriously wonderful.

Track Listing: Beneath the Undercurrent; A Rumoured Version of Ourselves; Two Fold; Bob Whites; Time Makes the Tune; A Triple of Keys; Polylectic; Noded Disnoded; Luz.

Personnel: Arve Henriksen: trumpet, vocals, electronics; Benott Delbecq: piano, bass station; Lars Juul: drums, electronics; Steve Argelles: Usine, delays, Sherman filter.

Record Label: Songlines Recordings

Style: Modern Jazz


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