Somewhere Miles Davis and Teo Macero are smiling. Swedish guitarist Samuel Hällkvist has taken their approach and refined it for the 21st century. What Macero began, with a razor blade and hours of fragmented and seemingly disjointed studio sessions, turned into the infamous Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970). Hällkvist journeys a similar path, and most significantly here, he travels that path with a unified vision.
For Variety Of Rhythm, a follow up to his BoogiePost recordings Variety Of Live (2015) and Variety Of Loud (2013) (see a pattern here?) outings, he collaborates with a dozen artists, recording tracks in Japan, Portugal, New York, Paris, Belgium, and Scandinavia before weaving them into one 44-minute piece. The music starts with Miles before venturing into minimalism, rock, electronic, and improvisation. Memories of early Pink Floyd, and David Byrne and Brian Eno's My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (Sire, 1981) are dredged up here, but like more recent work from Makaya McCraven, the suture seams are not apparent.
What were the cues given to guitarist David Torn in New York, drummer Yasuhiro Yoshigaki in Tokyo, or saxophonist Paulo Chagas from Portugal? Only Hällkvist knows. The music is a multifaceted cinematic score and hints of its design are in the disc's credits. Among the musicians, he lists Katrine Amsler with the production's edits and sound design. Like Macero was to Miles, Amsler is key to the realization of this project. Here, a sample is not just a sample and a loop is more than a hook. Like the fine collage art pieces from Joseph Cornell or Ray Johnson, the whole cannot be separated by the pieces here. A brilliant recording.
Variety of Rhythm Suite: Double Adagio; A1; Trio 1 Clip 1; Tete-a-Tete / Blivet;
Trio 2 Clip 1; Huly Marga; B1; Improv 1 Chip 3; A2; The Necker Cube; B2; Part
Of Adagio Double; C2; Trio 1 Clip 2; Part Of Tete-a-Tete / Blivet.
Samuel Hällkvist: guitar; Dick Lövgren: bass; David Torn: guitar; Liesbeth
Lambrecht: violin; Pete Drungle: keyboards; Yasuhiro Yoshigaki: drums; Kumiko
Takara: percussion; Qarin Wikström: voice; Knut Finsrud: drums; Paulo Chagas:
saxophones; Silvia Corda, miscellaneous instruments; Adriano Orru: bass;
Katrine Amsler: edit, sound design, programming.