280

Mark Solborg 4: Smash the Tomatoes

Matthew Wuethrich By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Solborg 4: Smash the Tomatoes Peruse the links on Mark Solborg's website and you will begin to understand how the Danish guitarist finally mixes his ideas. Björk, Waits, Frith, Mingus, Bowie, György Ligeti—all have gathered into their sound scraps and fragments of different musics. It is to Solborg's credit that his music sounds nothing like any of the above artists. Maybe his graphic arts work gives him balance, and his experience crafting music for plays prevents excess.

On Smash the Tomatoes, Solborg's fifth, surf music bleeds into droning dirges, slide guitar spills into noise antics, an electric bass anchors the drum's manic chugging, baritone sax melts into a massive low-end, and a clainet reaches upper-register trills. The quartet lends the mix an ease with technical facility that never devolves into overwrought displays. Democracy rules, an atmosphere supported by three of the four quartet members' participation in the Danish independent jazz label collective ILK.

The whole album throbs with a loud, visceral rock production, hinting at an energy probably even more palpable live. "Toast" and "Smash the Tomatoes" are rockers, drenched in black-shaded bass rumbles, reminding one of Morphine's languid timbres, but with a snarl like some of Ken Vandermark's heavier moments.

Both pieces hinge on the lock-step core of drummer Stefan Pasborg and bassist Jeppe Skovbakke. Their singlemindedness derives from rock and suggests that free jazz means more than the blaring saxophones and asymmetrical rhythms of the '60s. As Ken Vandermark describes the approach, it is "jazz played today by musicians that are free to take their inspiration from whatever sources they choose."

"Welcome" and "Great Barrier" bookend the album, hinting that Solborg intends the album to be not just a collection of tunes, but an experince. Both pieces center on a delicate, backwards toy piano. The first, only 34 seconds long, transports the listener into the album; the second is one of the tracks that fail, as the quartet reverts to stiff ambient gestures.

The sludgey tempos of "Slow Motion" and "Two Train Sleepers" work better. On the former, Solborg and Skovbakke set up a dense wall of guitar tones and chording bass, against which Anders Banke throws clarinet whorls that ascend to splitting peaks. They repeatedly build the simple theme to tragic climaxes, similar to the cinematic pathos of Godspeed You Black Emperor!

Pasborg provides energetic, precise backbeats throughout, shining on the whiplash heads of "Toast" and the title track. He also brings the right blend of spare and heavy-handed to "Slow Motion." During his solo on Skovbakke's "Don Goppel," he unleashes a taut set of outbursts over the bass's lazy Latin-tinged swing. Unfortunately the piece's overly cute melody sits uneasily with the brashness found elsewhere. Smash the Tomatoes succeeds not with clever writing, but a highly-charged blend of ingredients.


Track Listing: 1.Welcome 2.Toast 3.Slow Motion 4.Smash the Tomatoes 5.Two Train Sleepers 6.Bromf 7.Unspoken 8.Don Who? 9.Don Goppel 10.Great Barrier

Personnel: Mark Solborg: guitar; Anders Banke: sax, clarinet; Jeppe Skovbakke:bass; Stefan Pasborg: drums; Maja Romm: toy piano

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: ILK Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Pineapples and Ashtrays" CD/LP/Track Review Pineapples and Ashtrays
by James Nadal
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Earth Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Earth Tones
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "All Hot Bodies Radiate" CD/LP/Track Review All Hot Bodies Radiate
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: May 26, 2016
Read "Between Brothers" CD/LP/Track Review Between Brothers
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "I'll Be Seeing You" CD/LP/Track Review I'll Be Seeing You
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!