Coming together almost by chance for a small gallery concert in Copenhagen, Sven Dam Meinild, Jacob Anderskov and Kasper Tom quickly discovered a remarkable compatibility. Sharing a passion for untrammelled improvisation and experimentation, they also hold keen interests in contemporary composition and are separately active in a bewildering array of projects that straddle both worlds.
As the disc’s somewhat evocative title suggests, the trio lands on a common ground somewhere between free jazz, improv and the strangely beguiling music of the spectral composers. Embracing microtonal timbres in much the same way as the serialists used tone rows, Meinild likens the approach to the blending of liquids or the dissipation of smoke into the air. There’s an undeniably compositional quality to the ordering of the five sonic spaces, with overlapping harmonics and overtones often seeming to bathe the music in an ethereal light.
Thistle Root immediately sets the scene, Anderskov and Tom cajoling and supporting Meinild’s plangent alto saxophone and clarinet as he meanders through a perplexing series of interlinked musical spaces. Marbling is as sparse as it’s austere, the perfectly complementary timbres of prepared piano, flute and dampened drums conjuring mental images of a Japanese zen garden. Response-Ability and Vortex Street dial up the energy as the trio zig-zag through more familiar free-jazz terrain, and even here the trio seem to be bound together by an invisible thread.
The closing Zostera Marina takes its name from a form of sea grass which changes its appearance with the tide, and as the trio floats gracefully through time and space and creates its own internal currents and eddies, the allusion couldn’t be more fitting. Some of the most immersive improvised music you’re likely to hear this year, Spectral Entanglements blurs the lines between chance and intent as it toys with the mind.
Thistle Root; Marbling; Response-Ability; Vortex Street; Zostera Marina (40.06)
Sven Dam Meinild (as, cl, f); Jacob Anderskov (p); Kasper Tom (d). Copenhagen, April 2020.