"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.
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