Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

316

Ultralyd: Conditions for a Piece of Music

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Cross-pollination is one of the things that keeps music moving forward, as artists from different groups come together in new permutations that have clear reference points from where they came, but also create something new and distinctive. Guitarist Anders Hana and percussionist Morten J. Olsen make up the Norwegian noise improv duo MoHa!, whose Norwegianism (Rune Grammofon, 2007) makes a strong argument that not all noise improv sounds alike. While some of the textures they explore in MoHa! are brought to Conditions for a Piece of Music, Ultralyd—Hana and Olsen's collaboration with saxophonist Kjetil Møster and bassist Kjetil D. Brandsdal—is another beast entirely.

While the members of Ultralyd find ways to expand the sonic possibilities of their instruments, and there's plenty of processing going on, there's also a strong compositional component at play. Rock rhythms figure strongly on pieces like "Saprochord, a largely percussion-centric piece that adds tympani and tuned percussion to Olsen's unshakable beat, but Ultralyd's approach to structure has little to do with conventional song form. There are no changes to speak of, and vivid melodies only emerge occasionally. Still, there's a pattern to the darkly ethereal "Pentassonance II, with Hana's acerbic but spare guitar acting as a subtle foundation for Olsen and Brandsdal textural percussion and bass, and Møster's barely recognizable saxophone.

Ultralyd mix abstraction with a firmer pulse on the brief "Comphonie III, where an ambient cloud hovers above a mid-tempo drum beat from Olsen that combines with Møster's more visceral baritone. By contrast, "Low Waist revolves around an aggressively textured bass loop, more energetic drums and, again, a swarm of textures that rise above the pulse, creating the kind of sonic paradox that defines much of the disc.

Still, there are aspects to Conditions for a Piece of Music that, at least, feel like free improvisation but are more considered. "Débitage owes much to the on-the-surface-shapeless electronic music of the mid-to-late 20th century. The title track—the longest piece on the disc and the only one not composed collectively—is a seemingly contradictory exploration written by Olsen that, in its near vaporous ambience, manages to be surprisingly beautiful despite its oftentimes sharper edges.

Ultralyd—like Moha!—isn't for the faint-at-heart. Still, with more defined rhythms and melodic fragments, and a sonic approach that sometimes approaches—if not quite reaching—a curious kind of appeal, Conditions for a Piece of Music makes for a more accessible approach to experimental music.

Track Listing: Saprochord; Pentassonance II; Comphonia III; Low Waist; Débitage; Comphonie V; Conditions for a Piece of Music; Musica Imperativa; Figurae; Comphonie IV; Pentassonance I; Pentassonance III.

Personnel: Kjetil Møster: saxophones; Anders Hana: guitar; Kjetil D. Brandsdal: bass; Morten J. Olsen: drums, vibraphone, percussion.

Title: Conditions For A Piece Of Music | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Inertiadrome

Inertiadrome

Rune Grammofon
2011

buy
Conditions For A Piece Of Music

Conditions For A...

Rune Grammofon
2007

buy
 

Throb And Provision

Unknown label
2006

buy
 

Chromosome Gun

Unknown label
2005

buy
 

Ultralyd

FMR Records
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Sheer Reckless Abandon Album Reviews
Sheer Reckless Abandon
By John Kelman
May 19, 2019
Read Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z Album Reviews
Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z
By Jack Bowers
May 19, 2019
Read To My Brothers Album Reviews
To My Brothers
By Victor L. Schermer
May 19, 2019
Read Social Music Album Reviews
Social Music
By Roger Farbey
May 19, 2019
Read Circle Inside The Folds Album Reviews
Circle Inside The Folds
By John Eyles
May 18, 2019
Read Momentum Album Reviews
Momentum
By Jerome Wilson
May 18, 2019
Read Bonsai Club Album Reviews
Bonsai Club
By Roger Farbey
May 18, 2019