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Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2018: The Community Series at Koncertkirken

Henning Bolte By

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It is interesting to know that Dyberg used the flow of a human voice as point of departure and inspiration for the playing of her trio, namely the speaking voice of US-American writer William S Burroughs (1914-1997) with its inescapable dark sonority, crumbled timbre and conjuring cadence. Dyberg mentions especially pulse awareness, cut up technique as compositional device and "the silver smoke of dreams." The musicians used to listen to readings and radio experiments of Burroughs and started to play right away when Burroughs' voice was cut. A reviewer, Andrew Spragg (The Quietus), describes Burroughs' voice as having "the quality of one speaking beyond the grave, a croak that is authoritative and ravaged in equal measure. It is the voice that creaks out from a dark alley and nests under the skin. It is the voice of a PI trying to catch a final hopeless break, or a radio broadcaster making his last transmission from some strange inter-zone. It is a voice that possesses the listener, absorbs them, never betraying itself through emotion. It is control in its purest form, clinical, paranoid and alien. Hiding here, in plain sight, is a voice from the void." This should be enough encouragement to attend a concert of this trio or/and listen to the album.

Danish-Norwegian quartet Emmeluth's Amoeba

Emeluth's Amoeba came from the same planet of open improvisation but in a different elaboration. Danish saxophonist Signe Emmeluth originates from the Trondheim school—like her fellow musician Mette Rasmussen. Emmeluthis of a different temperament, a great impetuous player pushing up and forward with great force.

Among others she is heading the group Konge with Mats Gustafsson, Ole Morten Vågan and Kresten Osgood. The quartet consisting of Karl Bjorå on guitar, Christian Balvig on piano and Ole Mofjell on drums started with an überhectic passage of headache music to burst after a while into a great explosive groove. But as it is open improvisation it's not first choice to dash through, caged in the same dynamics. Instead the group went into highly energetic hyper rapid intricate rhythm patterning. It initially seemed that through this acceleration things threatened to muddle and fall apart, leaving loosely tumbling particles swirling around. The group took the risk and arose, so to speak, as a phoenix from the ashes. It arrived at a higher level giving leeway to chasing and jumping through marked territories thereby imposing its wildly blossoming protrusions and skeins, always keeping up explosive tension. There is an attitude of fearless exploration and a strong survival urge in the wild cosmos of sound.

Referring to the dancing movements of the polyp naval plant the group themselves describe their music making as uniting "Space and chaos, lyrical yet mysterious melodies and fierce dramaturgy ... in playful playing, where curiosity is a keystone" (for further details see Eyal Hareuveni's informative review).


The concerts of Dré Hocevar, the trio of Mia Dyberg and the quartet of Signe Emmeluth turned out as three quite clearly distinguished approaches and elaborations of open improvisation. All three are strong examples of musicians of the young generation giving shape to their very own voices. They act from a different life experience in a different production situation with different prospects. Old opposites disappear new opposites emerge.


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