94

Han Bennink & Terrie Ex: The Laughing Owl

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Han Bennink & Terrie Ex: The Laughing Owl Try to imagine the sounds of a laughing owl, and you might find yourself hooted out of your somber existence. Dutch drummer Han Bennink has made a career out of his quick-witted sense of humor, and he finds a willing partner on this expedition with the Ex's noisy guitarist, Terrie Ex. Both players certainly have the experience to justify a fresh round of free improvisation. The 17 pieces on The Laughing Owl range from spacious, open interplay to rousing, intense firestorms of activity. Rather than simply juxtaposing styles for the sake of contrast, Bennink and Ex prefer to work within shifting contexts.

On "Tzwet & Tkalf," the guitarist pursues a distorted, amelodic series of crunchy bursts—while Bennink cooks up some percolating rhythms and the occasional cymbal crash. Their interplay here reflects an abstract kind of call-and-response that ironically owes its (admittedly distant) origins to the blues. A track later, Ex tinkers away with understated Bailey-esque treble pulses, bantering back and forth with Bennink in a context that respects silence as much as it violates it. Despite the often serious aspect of The Laughing Owl, one has a strong sense of spontaneity. These two players clearly got together to see what happens when anything goes.

Bennink has recorded a number of duet records that seem to bring out the best in his partners. The Laughing Owl certainly is no exception. The absurdist sense of irony that pervades much of his work makes its own elegant appearances on this disc, though for his part, Ex seems quite focused in his intensity. At times, the guitarist even plays sequences that could be construed as conventional melody! Bennink generally sits back and plays the role of a partner in crime, rather than leaping out as a leader. The energy level remains quite high on much of this disc; one has the feeling the recording is meant to be played very LOUD. Even the most bird-like scrabbling between these musicians has a sharp, dissonant edge. The Laughing Owl may be about as "out" as today's free improvisation gets, but it retains enough of a conversational aspect that it bears interest upon repeated listenings.

Track Listing: Kieft; Demp; Bums; Kluft; Het Spook Ende Kaas; Krijt; Tzwet & Tkalf; Twototango; Skots & Skeef; Zeepijn; Dug; Glenflay; Tak; Song of the Slender Man; Fik; The Laughing Owl; Taailing.

Personnel: Han Bennink: drums; Terrie Ex: guitar.

| Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Landed in Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Landed in Brooklyn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Pineapples and Ashtrays" CD/LP/Track Review Pineapples and Ashtrays
by James Nadal
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Roots & Transitions" CD/LP/Track Review Roots & Transitions
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 11, 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!