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Thomas Stronen: Lucus

Mike Jurkovic By

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With a minimalist sense of minutes moving—elegantly, stubbornly, inexplicably—veteran drummer/percussionist/composer Thomas Strønen's music mutates from chamber abstractions to dream orchestrations on Lucus, his second outing on ECM.

Space, and the shadows it reveals and then envelopes, is the driving force behind Lucus and, indeed, the players in Time Is a Blind Guide, the name given to Stronen's almost otherworldly quintet of collaborators. Pianist Ayumi Tanaka and violinist Hakon Aåse are the primary soloists giving voice and flight to the cerebral, yet muscular rhythm section of Stronen, double bassist Ole Morten Vågan and violoncellist Lucy Railton.

No matter the construct, each player finds their breathing room within the inner logistics of Strønen's muse. "La Bella" opens like an orchestra tuning, each player listening to the voices around them until the suite-like set takes flight and Vågan's sawing bass takes hold. With its rolling piano and racing brushes, "Friday" momentarily takes you from the chamber-like studio to the street. The spacious and yearning title track highlights all the quintet's strengths—pacing and patience—each building upon the beautiful tune akin to swelling tides. On "Fugitive Pieces," the three string instruments bridge time between folk references and baroque enchantments, only to have pianist Tanaka take the music where she wills. The brief and percussive "Baka," followed by "Wednesday," are those high-flying, air-cleansing improvs that elevate the spirit while "Tension," with its hints of jazz from a global perspective, gives rise to a new day dawning.

Track Listing: La Bell; Friday; Release; Lucus; Fugitive Places; Baka; Wednesday; Tension; Truth Grows Gradually; Islay; Weekend.

Personnel: Thomas Strønen: drums, percussion; Ayumi Tanaka: piano; Hakon Aåse: violin; Lucy Railton: violincello; Ole Morten Vågan: double bass.

Title: Lucus | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ECM

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