All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Morten, J. Olsen: Bass Drum!

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Norwegian, Berlin-based percussionist Morten, J. Olsen's debut solo album demonstrates how far and advanced his instrumental vocabulary has become. Olsen was part of the high-energy duo MoHa, with guitarist Anders Hana, which later evolved to the powerful quartet Ultralyd, founded by legendary reeds player Frode Gjerstad. After moving to Berlin he became a member of Splitter Orchestra, a 25-piece improvising collective and recently began to perform as a techno DJ.

Bass Drum! features Olsen's instrument of choice in recent years. Olsen has an impeccable command over the 32" rotating bass drum and an exceptional affinity for sonic exploration. In his hands this drum becomes an orchestral instrument with a highly original and an arresting sonic universe of its own. Moreover, from what seems to be limited means, Olsen creates new ideas, definitions, and sounds of what percussion music or rhythm is and can be.

Like other innovative percussionists as Norwegian Ingar Zach or Japanese Tatsuya Nakatani, Olsen refuses to employ the drum as a drum only. He employs extended techniques including different tunings of the skin of the drum. He applies different percussion objects on the skins surface and its metal boundaries and explores different aspects of the timbre, pitch, resonance, dynamics and the relationship of the produced sounds to space.

Each piece investigates a distinct approach of playing the bass drum, turning these carefully nuanced pieces into rich, colorful textures. Olsen stresses a contemplative spirit on "Ejected objectives," buzzing drone on "Rooftop modified algae farm" and "The pressing operation," sensitive play of overtones on "Saw tooth model and nonstandard deviation" or ceremonial-meditative atmosphere on "An extremely cheap sanjo." The longest piece, "Pure tone attraction," is an enigmatic and quiet tone-poem that blurs the distinction between minimalist sound and silence. The last piece, "Objectives/Ejection (Hi-tech dying room)," plays imaginatively with the space and the kinetic characteristics of the spare, resonating sounds within this space.

Brilliant and visionary work of art.

Track Listing: Ejected objectives; Rooftop modified algae farm; Saw tooth model and nonstandard deviation; Ideologically justified rubble; The pressing operation; An extremely cheap sanjo; Pure tone attraction; Objectives/Ejection (Hi-tech dying room).

Personnel: Morten, J. Olsen: 32” Gran cassa and percussion.

Title: Bass Drum! | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Plus 3db


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Live In Healdsburg CD/LP/Track Review
Live In Healdsburg
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 19, 2018
Read Carpe Diem CD/LP/Track Review
Carpe Diem
by Don Phipps
Published: March 19, 2018
Read Exotica CD/LP/Track Review
by Chris May
Published: March 19, 2018
Read Oriental Orbit CD/LP/Track Review
Oriental Orbit
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 19, 2018
Read Brightbird CD/LP/Track Review
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 19, 2018
Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Ain't Who I Was" CD/LP/Track Review Ain't Who I Was
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Autumn Tales" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Tales
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 20, 2017
Read "Time Being" CD/LP/Track Review Time Being
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 25, 2017
Read "Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk" CD/LP/Track Review Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Transition" CD/LP/Track Review Transition
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 4, 2018