After an impressive eponymous live debut, the Anglo Polish Riverloam Trio, comprising reedman Mikolaj Trzaska, bassist Olie Brice and drummer Mark Sanders, enter the studio for their follow up outing. In many ways they deliver more of the same: fiery free improvisation in post-Ayler mode. As a threesome they are perfectly matched both temperamentally and musically. If anything their colloquy convinces as even more egalitarian this time out, with Brice stepping into the limelight increasingly frequently, in what is essentially a product of ensemble interaction, where solos are quickly reabsorbed into the overall fabric.
Trzaska's throaty alto saxophone cries clearly draw inspiration from the towering example of German reed iconoclast Peter Brötzmann. Tonal distortion constitutes an integral part of his armory and his impassioned oratory, in which he worries at reiterated phrases while seeking the next move to pursue, packs a sturdy emotional heft. His efforts garner solid support from Brice whose bass throb grounds the threeway interplay but also springs into resonant counterpoint at the slightest excuse. Sanders musters drive through an inventive litany of rolls, cymbal splashes, pulse, and timbral color, without ever suggesting anything which could be demarcated into meter.
Recognizing the value and effect of silence remains one of the unit's key strengths. It's a gambit used sparingly, but when called upon, as at the start of the conversational "Grasping Ivy" and the restrained "Elephant Trees" and recurring throughout both parts of "Beware of Porter," such parsimony proves supremely effective, imparting even more weight to the relaxed exchanges. As ever such unfettered settings benefit from variations in dynamics, achieved here through the Pole's employment of bass clarinet on "Danzig Blues" and the slow burning "Inem Gortn," as well as Brice's switches from gritty plucking to abrasive bowing and Sanders' balancing act between texture and tumult.
The images of vegetation adorning the sleeve and disc itself, in addition to the Yiddish title which translates as "In The Garden," provide an apt metaphor for what lies within: music with an unforced organic quality which grows on you.
Grasping Ivy; Beware of Porter part 1; Beware of Porter part 2; Danzig Blues; Grub Party; Elephant Trees; Inem Gortn.
Mikołaj Trzaska: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Olie Brice: double bass; Mark Sanders: drums.
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