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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Stronen: Lucus

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With Lucus, the reflective, somber, and gentle timbres of composer/drummer Thomas Strønen and his ensemble, Time Is a Blind Guide, brings to mind poet T.S. Eliot's line, “Winter kept us warm." And even as the cold Norwegian waves rise up or lap gently against the rocks along this craggy musical shore, Lucus elicits warmth, like a crackling fire on an windswept icy day. There's a chamber appeal to this music. That's only natural given the use of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Stronen: Lucus

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With a minimalist sense of minutes moving--elegantly, stubbornly, inexplicably--veteran drummer/percussionist/composer Thomas Strønen's music mutates from chamber abstractions to dream orchestrations on Lucus, his second outing on ECM. Space, and the shadows it reveals and then envelopes, is the driving force behind Lucus and, indeed, the players in Time Is a Blind Guide, the name given to Stronen's almost otherworldly quintet of collaborators. Pianist Ayumi Tanaka and violinist Hakon Aåse are the primary soloists giving voice and flight to ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Thomas Stronen: Time Is A Blind Guide

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Over the past couple of decades, Thomas Strønen has become, perhaps, best-known for his unfettered improvisational forays in electro-centric contexts: sometimes freewheeling and frenetic, as in Humcrush, the drummer/percussionist/electronics wizard's hardcore duo with his similarly inclined Norwegian partner, keyboardist Ståle Storløkken (and occasional guest, singer Sidsel Endresen); other times more spaciously ambient in the atmospheric Anglo/Norwegian collaboration, Food--initially a quartet that has, since releasing Last Supper (Rune Grammofon, 2005), whittled down to a core duo with British saxophonist Iain Ballamy, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Thomas Stronen's Time is a Blind Guide & Elephant9: Oslo, Norway, March 20-21, 2013

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When you've got some time to kill between two festivals--in this case, Burghausen, Germany's B-Jazz Festival and Vossa Jazz in Voss, Norway, the following weekend--there are few better places to do it than Oslo, a city that supports live music better than most cities in the world, with the possible exception of New York. Oslo's residents don't seem to care much whether it's a Saturday night or a Wednesday night; if there's a good show going on, you can count ...

INTERVIEWS

Thomas Stronen: The Tin Drum

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One of Norway's most prolific drummers, sampling percussionists and composers, Thomas Strønen is the co-founder of Food, along with British saxophonist Iain Ballamy. The group--which, since 2005, has whittled down from an original quartet that also featured Norwegians Arve Henriksen on trumpet and Mats Eilertsen on bass--released its most recent record, Quiet Inlet, in 2010 (its first for the German ECM label), and regularly includes guests that vary from one show to the next. It is this special element that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tone Ase / Thomas Stronen: Voxpheria

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The covers of Norwegian label Gigafon, designed by bassist Rune Nergaard, send an unsettling message. The cover of Voxpheria is no different, with its alien scenery and what looks like a homage to Norwegian thriller writer Jo Nesbø's invented torture instrument, Leopold's apple, taken from his The Leopard (Harvill Secker, 2011). And indeed, the highly personal, poetic soundscapes of vocal artist Tone Åse-- known for her trio Bol and the experimental all-female vocal ensemble Trondheim Voices--and prolific ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Stronen: Parish

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While Parish's first album, the live Rica (Challenge, 2003), was more collaborative from a compositional perspective, the group's new eponymous record continues to be the brainchild of Norwegian percussionist Thomas Strønen. With strong players like fellow Norwegian double-bassist Mats Eilertsen, Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson and clarinetist/saxophonist Fredrik Ljungkvist, Parish couldn't be anything but highly collaborative. The sixteen tracks on the new record may be considerably shorter than the extended workouts on Rica, but this time the bulk of the actual ...