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Hilmar Jensson: Tyft

Mark Corroto By

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Once the line that demarcates musical genres has been erased, there ain’t no returning to the farm. Paris (or a virtual Paris) has been seen, and one can never be the same. So says Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson.

His trio with drummer Jim Black and saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo shares in the belief that creative music (once called ‘jazz’) cannot ignore post-millenium sounds: noise, samples, rock, and noise. Did I mention noise? Within the 47 minutes that is Tyft Messrs. Jensson, Black, and D’Angelo bring much disquiet into a chamber jazz setting.

The three met up in Boston a decade ago and later practiced together in Brooklyn. Jim Black and Andrew D’Angelo formed Human Feel (with Chris Speed and Kurt Rosenwinkel); later Black was to gain major attention with Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, Uri Caine, and Ellery Eskelin. Andrew D’Angelo has been seen lately playing saxophone on his back in bands led by Matt Wilson and Reid Anderson. Jensson performed on both of Jim Black’s solo discs, Alasnoaxis (2000) and Splay (2002), on the Winter and Winter label.

Tyft borrows the energies of Black’s quartet but pairs it down, eliminating a bassist and at times the requirement for timekeeping. Jensson mixes acoustic solo tracks with rocked-out power chords. All three manipulate the music with electronics. They tend to finish each other’s sentences and otherwise read minds. Chirpy sizzles of electronics spread through deconstructed passages, only to end up in melodious endings. Jim Black’s genius is his ability to play the drums as blunt objects, keeping them undiscovered and primitive. Together D’Angelo and Jensson dodge Black in harmonies to maintain balance, only to diverge into an industrial metal on flesh sound.

Jensson explains that their system works “because the trust between us is complete.” Indeed, their construction (and deconstruction) of post-millennial sound is a system that works for the adventurous listener.


Track Listing: Short Or Hairy; Searching For Glick; Sinbad Glick; Three Oily Tuesdays; Uncle Fishhook; Morthanna; Yolanda; Even If...; Tyft; Death Of A Penguin; Indelable Scars; Tyft II.

Personnel: Hilmar Jensson

Title: Tyft | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings

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