Drummer Michala Østergaard-Nielsen and her quartet's More Stories From The Village is a completely improvised set that captivates with its lyricism and its darkly cinematic ambience. This short yet compelling and cohesive disc is a mordant postmodern folk tale that relies equally on the fluid spontaneity among the ensemble members as well as their expressive individuality.
On "A Road Trip To An Old Mountain" Østergaard-Nielsen, with her brushes, generates complex rustling patterns that match guitarist Marc Ducret's dense, reverberating phrases. The silvery, glimmering rhythmic structure buoys and envelopes trumpeters Kasper Tranberg and Per Jørgensen's intriguing duet. The horns, one crisp and incisive the other pliant and undulating, together with the leader's passionate rumble and Ducret's fiery strings create an exquisite and memorable group conversation.
Jørgensen, who also plays darbouka, sings haunting, wordless refrains in an otherworldly falsetto. His vocal exchanges with Tranberg's horn on "In The Village" are tinged with melancholy while their overlapping trumpet calls echo with an expectant edge. The resulting tune is simultaneously eerie and pastoral.
Elsewhere, on "Storytime" Ducret's resonant strums and Tranberg's mournful, long notes ebb and flow over Østergaard-Nielsen's angular galloping beats. The chiming bells and other dulcet percussed instruments together with Jørgensen's ethereal vocalizing add to the spirituality of the track that transforms it into a haunting pagan liturgy.
There is also much depth and shifting emotion within each piece. For instance, "Little Tiger, Pt II" opens with an energetic dialogue between Østergaard-Nielsen and Ducret laced with delightful dissonance. It progresses to an introspective and minimalistic melody that Ducret's sparse chords and Østergaard-Nielsen's clustered thumps weave within a silent fabric.
With each release Østergaard-Nielsen delivers a gem. Much like the precious stones her albums are small, compact and brilliant. Having put together a band that shares her artistic vision she puts forth thematically unified sublime works that crackle with free flowing originality and imagination.
In the village; Hunting; Story time; A roadtrip to an old mountain; Intermezzo;
Playtime; Night fall; Little tiger, part II; The guitar player; Beautiful bells and
trumpet trance; A gentle celebration.
Kasper Tranberg: trumpet and cornet; Per Jørgensen: trumpet, vocal and
darabouka; Marc Ducret: guitar; Michala Østergaard-Nielsen: drums and
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