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Black Milk Impulses: Manifesto

John Eyles By

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Black Milk Impulses is a Berlin-based trio that describes itself as "a laboratory for improvised or roughly arranged electroacoustic jazz," a description which manages to incorporate a great deal into a short space, thus leaving the door open for many possibilities. The core members of the project are Australian pianist Leo Auri and Italian drummer Gianpaolo Camplese, who first met in 2009 and shortly afterwards formed the trio Wine for Breakfast. After forming Black Milk Impulses in 2011, they collaborated with other musicians including Japanese shakuhachi player Sachio Suginuma and Italian guitarist Stefano Ferrari. Since April 2013, on Bandcamp, they have released three EP's plus live recordings, but Manifesto is their first official full album release. It features the trio's latest, most stable line-up which includes German trombonist Gerhard Gschlößl alongside Auri and Camplese.

The studio-recorded album consists of sixteen tracks, several being brief interludes lasting under a minute. Taken together, the tracks all combine to create a stimulating, varied soundscape that makes perfect sense of the trio's own description of their music. The combination of piano, trombone and drums works well, with their sounds being different enough from each other to remain distinct throughout, allowing each strand to be heard clearly and appreciated in its own right. Yes, they are right to call it a laboratory, as the three are experimenting to discover fresh ways to combine improvised and roughly arranged electroacoustic jazz.

Weaved through the entire album are appealing melodic snippets which provide the music with a skeleton without confining it or acting as a straitjacket. At any moment, any of the three players seems entirely free to do as they wish, whether that be to inject a melody, a solo or a burst of rhythm; by some alchemy, that does not lead to a free-for-all or a cacophony but music that is focussed, coherent and fluid. The large number of relatively short tracks (the longest just tops seven minutes) ensures that the music shifts frequently, and never gets into a rut. By turns, it is jazz or improv or knockabout slapstick or achingly poignant, but certainly never dull. Engaging listening from start to finish.

Track Listing: Mic Check; Music Box Range; Interludio; Nai Tom's Stately March; We Know What We Mean; Waves Of Bass; Bulging Mandel; Piccolo Interludio; Amazing + B; Moped; Carillon; Steinkohlenbergwerk; Closed Nosed; Half Open Fridge Door; Steve Unit; The Return Of Music Box.

Personnel: Gerhard Gschlößl : trombone; Gianpaolo Camplese: drums; Leo Auri: piano, electronics.

Title: Manifesto | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Meta Records

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