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Mino Cinelu / Nils Petter Molvaer: SulaMadiana

In brief:
"The trip-hop and reggae rhythms which marked Molvaer's breakthrough ... have here been set aside as his enduring search for 'an-other' groove is splintered and revisioned"

A wide-ranging yet always focused French-Norwegian suite, at times filmic in effect, of processed sound-patching and pellucid melody, liquid polyrhythm and Nordic mood, Afro-beats and Asian overtones, this shape-shifting set compels attention from first note to last.

Both participants are strong individuals. Cinelu’s CV includes productive stints with Gong, Miles Davis, Weather Report and Michel Portal. Early on he embraced world-ranging aspects of his trade, especially evident here in O Xingu, Indianala and Song For Julie (Oslo). Apart from many a crisply turned, bubbling and cooking rhythmic figure, he offers poetically spare guitar and diversely inflected vocal invocations.

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Following his early days in the Masqualero quintet run by Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen, Molvaer has become equally well-known for his genre- and- border-slipping, often collage-like take on matters of sound and silence, rhythm and melody. Here, he and Cinelu evince an empathy as potent as it is subtle.

The trip-hop and reggae rhythms which marked Molvaer’s breakthrough Khmer ECM release of 1997 and his 2018 Nordub sessions with dub and reggae masters Sly and Robbie have here been set aside as his enduring search for “an-other” groove is splintered and revisioned: hear the extraordinary offset swing in the cross-accented Take The A# Train.

As one might expect from the tracks’ dedicatees, there’s a strong Afro-beat quality to the grooves of SulaMadiana (for Manu Dibango) and Song For Julie (for Tony Allen) – and the 21 seconds which constitute the solo Tambou Madiana which Cinelu offers in memory of Jimmy Cobb certainly project a strong African aura. But the rhythmic momentum here is often as poetic as it is purposive, while pieces such as the deeply meditative, patiently cast Le Monde Qui Change, Theories Of Dreaming, Process Of Breathing and SulaMadiana Pt. 1 take us deep into spacious realms of rubato reverie. Don Cherry would have loved this disc.

Discography
Le Monde Qui Change; New York Stroll; SulaMadiana (for Manu Dibango); O Xingu; Take The A# Train; Theories Of Dreaming; Indianala; Kanno Mwen; Tambou Madiana (for Jimmy Cobb); Process Of Breathing; Rose Of Jericho; Song For Julie; (For Tony Allen); Song For Julie (Oslo); SulaMadiana Pt. 1 (50.28)
Cinelu (pc, d, g, v); Molvaer (t, elec)
BMG Modern Recordings LC 95306

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