Reflections & Odysseys gifts to the listening world the debut of pianist Bugge Wesseltoft's new triocalled Rymdenwith bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom. The rhythm section, best known as part of e.s.t. (led by the late Esbjorn Svensson), serves Wesseltoft with fresh purpose, at once grateful for what came before and eager to chart maps ahead. It's a dual aesthetic embodied not only in the album's title, but also in its approach to crafting sound as a realm in which to mine melodic ore for its precious worth.
It's with a mournful past in mind that opens the set in ambient trenches. As if by force of a blade shaving the very face of the cosmos, each sonic hair lets out a slow-motion scream, morphing into "RymdenThe Odyssey." Here the trio has broken through the atmosphere, hitting orbit as if it were the most natural transition in the world. Building dense textures from base elements, streaming comet tails of brilliance intertwine with extraterrestrial lullabies. Wesseltoft proves himself a resolutely orchestral player who leaves room for his talented bandmates without stepping on a single toe. Berglund and Öström meanwhile cover as much of the proverbial court as possible, while Wesseltoft swishes every improvised ball he throws.
Much of what follows takes one of three forms. First, there are the digitally enhanced textures of "Orbiting" (a setup for the emblematic farewell of "Homegrown"), "Pitter-Patter," and the dynamic "The Celestial Dog And The Funeral Ship," the last trail-marked by a persistent snare across a landscape of floating pianism. Second, the more grounded denouements of "The Lugubrious Youth Of Lucky Luke," a tactile slice of melancholy. In that same illustrative vein is "Bergen," which sounds exactly like its namesake: a port town nestled among well-situated houses and lived-in architecture. Third, the use of monologues as segues into strong-winged flights. Case in point is "Råk The Abyss," a portal of solo percussion opening into "Råk" proper, floating us on a geyser of activity. Compressing feelings of grandeur into a single image, it reduces memory to a chain of colors, each more vivid than the last, until synchronicity of movement and experience is achieved.
Reflections; The Odyssey; The Peacemaker; Pitter-Patter; The Lugubrious Youth Of Lucky Luke; The
Celestial Dog And The Funeral Ship; Bergen; Råk–The Abyss; Råk; Orbiting; Homegrown.
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