30

Ballister Trio: Mechanisms

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Stop me if you've heard this one before. A free improvising trio walks into a club and begins a live performance by ripping the ears off its listeners. No joke here, just that flexing muscular music isn't for the faint-at-heart. And certainly the trio of saxophonist Dave Rempis, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love is an audacious one.

Mechanisms is their second recording. Their first, Bastard String was self-produced in 2010 and, like this disc, recorded live. It is difficult to imagine this trio recording in a studio, rerecording or editing its music. The trio plays live, raw, and uninhibited.

The players are quite familiar and longtime collaborators in bands such as reed multi-instrumentalist Ken Vandermark's Territory Band. Rempis and Nilsson-Love can also be heard in School Days, and the Chicago saxophonist and cellist both play in Vandermark 5 and various local ensembles.

The three lengthy pieces heard here wander from quietude to noise. Each piece releases a cathartic rush of energy. Although the players forage and rummage about, it is not aimless; they are planning a course. "Claprock" opens with Nilssen-Love digging a foundation with his tom-toms as Rempis finds an intemperate balance on tenor. The pause for cymbal work and thundering bass drum is a prelude to the adrenaline rush to come. Lonberg-Holm's cello can pluck single notes or, via electronics, singe with a current that begs the question, is that a guitar?

Ballister Trio might start with the question Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun (FMP, 1968) raised: what do we do with all this energy? Rage, yes; but there is more. Rempis, trading between various saxophones, plays until exhaustion, his ferocity incomparable. The trio burns, but not for the sake of combustion. In between the uproar is the meat, the viscera, and the heart of sound. This trio finds beauty in the maelstrom.

Track Listing: Release Levers; Claplock; Roller Nuts.

Personnel: Dave Rempis: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello, electronics; Paal Nilsson-Love: drums, percussion.

Title: Mechanisms | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Happiness!" CD/LP/Track Review Happiness!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Autumn Tales" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Tales
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 20, 2017
Read "Post Bop Gypsies" CD/LP/Track Review Post Bop Gypsies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "The Book of Transfigurations" CD/LP/Track Review The Book of Transfigurations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.