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Suura: Luwte

Mark Sullivan By

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Suura: Luwte
Suura is a Belgian band (Ghent based) formed by guitarist Nicolas Van Belle. Joined by double bassist Emanuel Van Mieghem, tenor saxophonist Reindert Spanhove and alto saxophonist Werend Van Den Bossche, they are an acoustic, chamber jazz quartet (no drums). Like other contemporary Belgian improvisational music—as documented by record labels like El Negocito Records and Aspen Edities—their work can best be described as dreamy and atmospheric. Rich timbral soundscapes are often combined with lyrical melodies.

"Optiark II" opens the album in a contemplative mood, long tones on arco bass, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone over a guitar ostinato of broken chords. As it builds in intensity, the saxophones begin playing overlapping melodic lines. It closes with guitar and saxophone playing lines in unison. The delicate dance between composition and improvisation weaves a potent spell. Most of the music was composed by Van Belle, but there are three brief group improvisations that spotlight their mutual creative process. "Morphe I" is doleful and sparse; "Morphe II" employs low drones and a high-pitched percussive sound (electronic, probably produced by the guitar); and "Morphe III" rests on a deep bass line, topped by horns and electronic textures.

While the music can often be low energy, even ambient, there is a range. "Efialtis" begins mildly, but builds to a frenetic horn crescendo (with prominent alto saxophone electronic treatments). "Optiark I" features a familiar dreamlike sequence of guitar and bass chords. But the horn echoes become increasingly wild, until briefly taking over, and the piece drives to a double-time conclusion. The title tune is a lovely brief guitar coda to end the set. A fine debut from a promising ensemble.

Track Listing

Optiark II; Wintergreis; Morphe I; Somber; Eenzelfde Ochtend; Morphe II; Efialtis; Morphe III; Optiark I; Luwte.

Personnel

Suura: band/orchestra; Nicolas Van Belle: guitar; Werend Van Den Bossche: saxophone, alto; Reindert Spanhove: saxophone, tenor; Emanuel Van Mieghem: bass, acoustic.

Werend Van Den Bossche: alto saxophone, effects; Nicolas Van Belle: guitar, 12 string guitar, effects.

Album information

Title: Luwte | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: bwaa. records

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