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Kanno - Poll - Pett - Shorr - MacDonald: Free Radicals

Glenn Astarita By

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Here we have acoustic-electric instantaneous compositions —largely about nature —that defy the norms. Recorded live at a venue in Scotland the respective musicians are artistic, music and improvising professors from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. And after hearing this album, I'd imagine the professors bring a lot to the table via their teachings.

The live experience must have been a gas, but also quite freaky amid the polytonal sound swashes and curvy or jagged developments, executed with standard instrumentation, live electronics, small percussion instruments, a kazoo, and so on. In addition, multi—instrumentalist Anne-Liis Poll's avant-garde operatic vocalizations are often filtered through electronics. Think of free jazz coupled with intensely abstract world music, jazz improv and a hefty cross-pollination of disparate stylizations, aligning with humor, madcap progressions, and fiendish interludes.

The element of surprise is an unrelenting characteristic. For example, "Zephyrs" begins with Pett's stammering lower- register chord clusters, dappled with Poll's rattle percussion implements, segueing to quiet and subliminal electronics with eerie overtones. But the following track "Air," is erected with Poll's digitized voice parts, thumb piano and a host of oddities that conjure notions of galactic aliens making contact. Other works contain harmless sojourns into the macabre and brief comedic intervals, festered by Kanno's sawing violin lines and subdued voicings that lead to crash and burn episodes.

Depending on your frame of mind, the album is a portal to whatever sensibilities or imagery that hits you at the moment. At the very least, the program trashes all semblances of classification as each listener will more than likely interpret matters on a deeply personal level, pro or con.

Track Listing: Atmospheres; Lava; Snowmelt; Ether; Vanishing Point; Zephyrs; Air; Laughing Gas; Water; Close Rain, Distant Thunder; Clouds; Helium; Stratosphere; Ozone.

Personnel: Mieko Kanno: violin, electric violin; Anne-Liis Poll: voice, kalimba, manzira, kazoo, rattle percussion; Anto Pett: piano, Aaron Shorr - piano, Alistair MacDonald - live electronics.

Title: Free Radicals | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Leo Records

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