Natural Artefacts: The Crux

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I wonder how Joe Zawinul would have got on with fellow-Austrian Arnold Schönberg? Imagine a world where improvisational flair, funky jazz figures and a world-ranging poetic sensibility sit well with the strictures of serialism or a literate awareness of the European classical tradition. Add to that the possibilities inherent in a post-musique concrète, post-Cage, post-minimalism sensibility and you have some idea of the sui generis poetics of this quite extraordinary quartet.

As I’ve observed before in JJ, Swedish pianist and electronics manipulator Susanna Lindeborg and her various cohorts have been making some of the most refreshing music of the past decade or so: music as tender and lyrical (hear the beginning of Short Step) as it is abstract and indeterminate (the development of Step) – as deeply satisfying, overall, as it is provocative and challenging. 

The Crux is the most completely wrought album I’ve heard to date from Lindeborg and Nilsson: its shape-shifting acoustic/electronic field has a mesmerising effect, with Kagu’s clipped and singing guitar and Jonsson’s pithy percussion completely wired to the pursuit of the unclassifiable which seems the order of the day here. There are both “little sounds” redolent of treasured folk tropes and “big sounds” which conjure post-apocalyptic thoughts of a piece of Weather Report vinyl, eaten away by acid rain; spaced-out grooves (Open Path, Red Room and Webern’s Mode) and suspended cross-rhythms and indeterminate textures (Whereabouts).

A superb, really striking recording: the more you listen – and listen hard – the more it gives you.

Discography
The Crux; Solo 4 Four; We Have Sung for You; Open Path; Red Room; Actualization; Webern’s Mode; Whereabouts; Open Path (Return) (60.54)
Anton Jonsson (pc); Merje Kagu (elg); Susanna Lindeborg (p, live elec); Per Anders Nilsson (prog, live elec). Studio Epidemin, 1 June 2018.
LJ records LJCD5261