A Slovakian percussionist, Michaela Antalová is based in Norway where she studied improvisation at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Here, she appears as a member of OJKOS, a 14-piece orchestra described as a collective, the accompanying press handout noting that ojkos is the Greek word for family.
Unorthodox in its approach to music, the repertoire of OJKOS draws upon the composing talents of its members. On this occasion, the composer is Antalová, who is known for her solo performances, some of which can be seen on YouTube. The only work on this album is her percussion-based composition, Nethuns, which is named for the god of all waters in Etruscan mythology.
Not at all like a drummer in an orthodox jazz setting, Antalová uses a wide range of percussion instruments, playing them with skill and subtlety. Despite the size of the group, there is little ensemble playing, at least not in the way usually understood by the term. The music is based on a rhythmic foundation, supplied primarily by Antalová and fellow percussionist Knut Kvifte Nesheim, along with pianist Kristoffer Fossheim Håvik, guitarist Mike McCormick, and bassist Alexander Hoholm. Throughout, the melodic lines are largely taken by flautist Henriette Eilersen.
There are not many solos from other members of the group, rather what might be termed interjections from two trumpets, two trombones, two saxophones as well as a violin and a harp.
This is intriguing music and will perhaps be best appreciated by musicians, especially percussionists, who will find much on which to reflect. This performance of Nethuns was recorded live at Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo. Principally, this album is available digitally although there is also a limited CD run.
Hear/buy Michaela Antalová & OJKOS: Nethuns at dugnadrec.bandcamp.com/album/nethuns-music-for-14-piece-ensemble Find out more at michaelaantalova.com
Antalová (d, daf); Magnus Murphy Joelson (cond); 14-piece orchestra. Oslo, Norway, 29 January 2019.