Equilibrium: Liquid Light

Glenn Astarita By

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This European trio's third release is abetted by Songlines Recordings' pristine audio processes, which is a vital aspect since many of these tracks are quietly penetrating in scope and designed with ethereal atmospherics. The artists' specialty may lie within an artsy, avant-garde schema via a channel of electro-acoustic tone poems, enamored by Sissel Vera Pettersen's luminous and diffused wordless chants. Even though these largely temperate pieces are lithely woven amid the bumps, spikes, valleys, and a hint of new age electronica fare, the program is most assuredly not background music for shopping malls.

You could hear a pin drop on "Respire," as Petterson's reverb-heavy, echo-laden intonations summon imagery of an ancient tomb. On "Air," the trio morphs electronics treatments, flickering voice overlays and subtle instrumental harmonizing processes that bid a rather chilling state of affairs. Otherwise, it was a good idea for the band to keep the songs at reasonable lengths, as they tend to intertwine into the big picture, serving as subplots, and brimming with discrete variables. There are some gorgeous and haunting passages, executed by Petterson and the off-center three-way dialogues, touching upon free form chamber, free improvisation and Pettersen's sanctified ruminations.

Guitarist Mikkel Ploug often adds a surrealistic vibe to the trio's asymmetrical and fragile undercurrents. And Joachim Badenhorst's winding and textural clarinet performances bridge the gap between experimental improvisation and splendor. But "Statolith" is fabricated with subterranean electronics effects with Pettersen's elegiac mantras, followed by a programmatic motif. Here and throughout, the trio intimates an abundance of contrasting layers, posing an uncanny form of group symmetry that comes to fruition in numerable shapes, colors and transcendent dialogues.

Track Listing: Praha; Eupnea; Thalassa; Totemic I; Totemic II; Respire; Oslo From Above; Air; Grundtvig Coral; Motels Mono; Hiro; Sweep; Laglio; Statolith; Comacino Dreaming.

Personnel: Sissel Vera Pettersen: vocals, live electronics, soprano saxophone, singing bowls (11); Joachim Badenhorst: clarinet, bass clarinet; Mikkel Ploug: electric guitar, acoustic guitar.

Title: Liquid Light | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings

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