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Russell / Beresford / Edwards / Liavik Solberg: Will It Float?

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Russell / Beresford / Edwards / Liavik Solberg: Will It Float?
Will It Float? features Norwegian drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg in the company of three of London's most esteemed improvisers, guitarist John Russell, bassist John Edwards and keyboardist Steve Beresford on objects and electronics. The genesis of this album can be traced back to the recording of the excellent No Step (Hispid, 2014) which paired Liavik Solberg and Russell. The success of that duo convinced the drummer to put together a quartet consisting of more musicians from the British improv scene. As he had already played in a trio with Beresford on keyboards and Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen on Three Babies (Peira, 2013), Beresford was an obvious choice. And given the well-established links that Edwards has with both Russell and Beresford, that choice must have been a no-brainer...

Once formed, Liavik Solberg arranged for the quartet to play a concert in November 2013, at St Mary's Old Church, Stoke Newington, an intimate venue with great acoustics. The concert was recorded for this album. Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, another former band mate (in VCDC) of Liavik Solberg, got the task of mixing and mastering the album. This meant Lonberg-Holm had to deal with the limitations of the dynamic of the music, as outlined by Liavik Stolberg; specifically, these concerned taking Russell's acoustic guitar into account plus the "challenging and different soundscape" created by Beresford's electro-acoustic sound palette. No worries, Lonberg-Holm did a fine job and all four players can be heard clearly and in balance on the released version.

Across four tracks, totalling just under forty minutes, the quartet's music is classic improv spiced up by the inclusion of Beresford's objects and electronics, which make it unmistakably of the twenty-first century. The balance between the players is even; with none of them dominating, all four can be judged as equally responsible for the final soundscape.

Liavik Solberg makes his presence felt throughout, giving the music a rhythmic pulse that he does not allow to flag and which the other three all help maintain. In particular, the drummer combines well with Edwards, the two not functioning as a conventional rhythm section, but working in tandem and clearly being tuned into each other's instincts. While the momentum is maintained, the pieces have more than enough surface detail to make them interesting beyond the rhythm; Beresford is the most obvious source of such detail but the others all contribute to it, reacting and responding to the rapidly evolving soundscape. The end results make stimulating listening time after time, each repeat hearing revealing more than the last. Will It Float? is available on heavy black vinyl in an edition limited to 300 copies. Unmissable.

Track Listing

Will It Float?; Light Impermeable; Buoyant; The Third Time.

Personnel

John Russell: guitar; Steve Beresford: objects & electronics; John Edwards: double bass; Ståle Liavik Solberg: drums and percussion.

Album information

Title: Will It Float? | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Va Fongool


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