115

Tammen/Harth/Dahlgren/Rosen: Expedition: Live At The Knitting Factory

Sean Patrick Fitzell By

Sign in to view read count
Tammen/Harth/Dahlgren/Rosen: Expedition: Live At The Knitting Factory Shards of sound leap forth without hesitation or preamble. Tearing guitar and saxophone squalls compete with the thrumming bass and frenetic drums on the appropriately titled, "Setting Out With Aggressive Intent. The impact is immediate. Expedition: Live at the Knitting Factory is an improvisational adventure for guitarist Hans Tammen, tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Alfred 23 Harth, bassist Chris Dahlgren and drummer Jay Rosen.

Recorded in 2001, the near-hour long set is subdivided into ten pieces, though it is really one long, unfolding improvisation. The divisions merely cue the obvious shifts in emphasis and the titles hint at motivations, such as "Taken at a Leisurely Pace and "A Place That Has Emotional Significance. These signposts help listeners approach the sonic density of the quartet that sounds bigger.

Tammen's self-described "endangered guitar style slashes through idiomatic norms, conjuring soundscapes and stabbing intensity. Harth's doubling of reeds with contrasting timbres extends the group's textural range, as does Dahlgren's use of electronics. At times it is difficult to know who is playing which parts; for added mystery, even trumpet-like sounds emerge on "Setting Out... and "A Long Trip by Water.

The music is not an unrelenting maelstrom. Though ideas are rapidly exchanged, the musicians evince careful listening and are as adept in the quieter passages as in the blowouts. On "Taken At..., Dahlgren's hypnotic bowed-bass mantra murmurs beneath Harth's tempered bleating and Tammen's nuanced manipulations. Rosen propels "Many Have Passed Rigorous Courses with a martial snare shuffle, eliciting a bout of tightly focused group interplay. He and Tammen seamlessly lock into a rockish groove during "A Long Trip..., belying the intrinsic spontaneity.

The improvisation is intense and must have been a powerful experience for the audience. But like many live recordings of free improv, the interactive energy is necessarily lost in translation to disc. Knowing this only adds incentive to observe such seasoned improvisers in the moment.

Track Listing: Setting Out With Aggressive Intent; Taken at a Leisurely Pace; Many Have Passed Rigorous Courses; A Considerable Amount of Time and Distance; Retained Notions of Speed and Purpose; A Brief Pleasure Trip; From One Place to Another; A Long Trip by Water; A Place That Has Emotional Significance; Returning to the Place Where It Began.

Personnel: Hans Tammen: endangered guitar; Alfred 23 Harth: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Chris Dahlgren: bass, electronics; Jay Rosen: drums.

Title: Expedition: Live At The Knitting Factory | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ESP Disk


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Hawniyaz" CD/LP/Track Review Hawniyaz
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Three Octaves Above The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Three Octaves Above The Sun
by James Nadal
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Beauty Within" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty Within
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "As it Was" CD/LP/Track Review As it Was
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.