Controlled breathing is a centering, grounding device at the heart of many cultural and spiritual traditions. It is appropriate then that it should be the primary force and focus of Mikkel Ploug, Sissel Vera Pettersen and Joachim Badenhorst's Equilibrium.
Human breath not only fuels Pettersen and Badenhorst's wind instruments, but is fully present in the resulting sound, the instruments used as much to project the breath as to transform it into musical tones. Pettersen's ethereal, often piercing singing eschews lyrics to likewise emphasize more primal human intonations. Steeped in the music of Celtic, African and Asian natives, her voice regularly crosses beyond the human, becoming an instrumental tone that mixes with the sound from Badenhorst's clarinet or sax, itself in an arc toward sounding more human.
Ploug completes the trio with his effects-laden guitar that screeches, squawks and screams along with Pettersen's voice and voice-like electronics. The echoing effects also join with Ploug's more traditional looping lines and chord changeson both acoustic and electric guitarto provide a rhythmic, percussive thump, occasionally augmented by the clicking of Badenhorst's clarinet keys.
As its title suggests, the album is a constant exercise in exchangebetween the human and the mechanical, the traditional and the cutting-edge, the frightful and the bittersweetaimed at achieving a certain flowing equilibrium. On "Epiphora," placed at the album's center, Pettersen releases bird calls that morph into human panting, a dynamic echoed on the penultimate "Ambiente," where the breathing is more stressed, the calls more desperate. As the fourth and final part of "Chorale" closes the album (as the first had opened it), the breath cries out its last, dipping into a prolonged, electronic groan. It's an ominous finish to a work that explores the cycles of life with a ceremonial air that offers few lighthearted moments, but is deeply forceful.
The best show I ever attended was the Zawinul Syndicate at the Blue Note in 1997. Being the youngest kids in the room, the host put us right in front of the band. The afro-beat electric set blew the roof off the building, an unforgettable sound
The best show I ever attended was the Zawinul Syndicate at the Blue Note in 1997. Being the youngest kids in the room, the host put us right in front of the band. The afro-beat electric set blew the roof off the building, an unforgettable sound. After, my girlfriend and I just sauntered up the stairs to the green room to meet the
band. I posed for a picture with Joe, after talking a little bit about boxing and how to stay healthy while the other guys in the band tore through a bucket of fried