Thes New England-based record label, Driff Records, was established in 2012 by Jorrit Dijkstra (reeds, electronics) and Pandelis Karayorgis (piano) with the intentions of creating "transatlantic improvised music." Dijkstra and drummer, composer John Hollenbeck have enjoyed a productive working relationship since the 1990s, and invited forward-thinking French pianist Benoit Delbecq into this beguiling and uncanny improvisational trio setting for Linger. It definitely goes against the grain, even by free jazz nomenclatures. But the intermixing of acoustic and electronics yield some notable surprises along with Hollenbeck, sounding like he has eight arms, or if some of the percussion grooves were indeed overdubbed.
This acoustic-electric set is largely about unorthodoxies coexisting on an elevated plane of sorts, as the musicians make it all seem natural. Odd noises blurt out from nowhere with Delbecq's electric bass lines, refined prepared piano textures and Dijkstra's processed sax, analog synths and lyricon lines. But Hollenbeck's rolling, tumbling and polyrhythmic drums, layered with small percussion instruments denoting a multi-purposed mode of attack. Coupled with the saxophonist's darting, popping and supple notes, the trio rather softly jolts your neural network.
"Linger" is devised with a jagged sense of minimalism and microtonal sound-sculpting, dappled with subtle background effects. Whereas, "Stalk" seems like an alien march progression, stoked with ominous implications and a metronomic ending. Yet each track has its own delineation. For example, "Push" features an outside-the-box funk groove motif with Dijkstra's weaving lyricon lines atop Delbecq's unassuming bass pattern and flickering piano statements, gravitating towards a blustery free-form jaunt amid world-beat undertones. However, the album closer "Edge" is enacted with muttering effects, accentuated by the drummer's cymbal swashes and the pianist's simple, childlike theme.
Part of the album's success is due to the artists' sensitivity, and by not overheating matters into rambunctious, cacophonous blowouts. Simply stated, it's an idiosyncratic musical event that defies rigid categorizations, and presents newly discovered revelations on subsequent listens.