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The sophomore release of the Norwegian-American free improvisation quartet VCDC (following the self-titled album, Hispid, 2011) features the quartet as a highly inventive and playful unit. Clarinetist Frode Gjerstad, one of the forefathers of the Norwegian free jazz and free improvisation scene; cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, who in the last years collaborate regularly with Scandinavian musicians as Gjerstad on other projects or the Swedish-American quintet Seval; drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg and vocal artist Stine Janvin Motland, who work together as the duo MotSolrecorded two extended improvisations at the Galleri Sult in Stavanger, Gjerstad's hometown.
Both improvisations are anarchistic and eccentric in its spirit. The only rules oblige careful listening to the other musicians uncompromising attempt to expand the sonic envelope with inventive nuances and unconventional usage of the instruments, and maintaining an arresting level of intensity. The parts where Motland sets the tone challenge the other players to accommodate with her imaginative vocalizations, full of humor, drama and emotion with a stunning range of voices. She has a unique approach of using her voice as an instrument, different from other fellow Norwegian vocal artists as Sidsel Endresen or Eldbjorg Raknes, at times closer to Maja S.K. Ratkje noisy, experimental employing of the voice as raw sound. Gjerstad uses extended breath techniques to answer her and to push further the sonic palette, while Lonberg-Holm and Solberg enrich the thick sonic stew with surprising colors, strange, subtle sounds and changing pulse.
The two improvisations progress patiently. The second one in particular, "Sultan For Seitan," is more theatrical and uplifting. Motland begins with chirping and later ecstatic vocal utterances, Gjerstad joins with brief, poetic blows on the clarinet and unhurriedly the quartet even manages to articulate a fragile rhythmic outline through this chaotic interplay. This improvisation unfolds slowly as a detailed dadaist story, told as by four creative storytellers.
Masterful and arresting.
Track Listing: Glutton For Insults; Sultan For Seitan.