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THOMAS STRØNEN
Pohlitz

RCD2051
Rune Grammofon 2006
08 Tracks. 39mins08secs

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The credentials attached to Thomas Strønen are pretty impressive. Born in 1972, he is one of the founding members of Anglo-Norwegian avant-jazz ensemble Food with Iain Bellamy, has worked with the likes of Evan Parker, Tomasz Stanko, Ernst Reijsjeger, Christian Wallumrød or Trygve Seim to name but a few, and is also an active member in both the Maria Kannegaard Trio and Parish, a quartet he founded with Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson. Last year, Strønen released an album with Supersilent keyboard player Ståle Storløkken as Humcrush on Rune Grammofon, yet, Pohlitz is his first solo release.

Here, Strønen leaves behind his instrument of predilection, the drums, to investigate a far wider range of percussive sounds and develop a series of intricate compositions with clear emphasis on the musical aspect of his work. If the setting of this album is resolutely experimental and feeds on Strønen’s background in improvised work, the result is a fascinating, and surprisingly accessible, collection of compositions which evokes in turn traditional oriental Gamelan music, which serves as basis for this album, African percussions, and the work of Pierre Bastien or that of Steve Reich. Although there is a great unity of tone across the album, Strønen devises eight very different pieces here. Working with sampled bells, gongs and prepared piano, Strønen then uses electronic equipment to process this first layer and continues to build up his compositions. The result is extremely sedimented and colourful, with both acoustic and electronic affecting the spirit of these tracks in different ways. From the incandescent rhythms of Heterogeneous Substances or Ingenious Pursuits to the more delicate assemblages of Lavoisier or Mutti, Strønen constantly affects the mood of his compositions by playing with slight sonic variations, often only perceptible by listening closely.

Strønen works at microscopic level, conscious of capturing the smallest particles of sound and use them to make the silences in between notes resound as loud as the notes themselves. Although the pace slows down slightly on E… Quilibrium and Mutti, there is no respite as such to be found anywhere. Strønen creates a radical sweeping soundtrack that appears at once terribly compact and dense and incredibly vast and sparse. Elements of electro-acoustic regularly collide with frenetic sonic sentences to generate subtle emotional moments.

Pohlitz is at once intense and fragile, and has so much to offer that it is difficult to appreciate the full extend of Thomas Strønen’s work, however this is undeniably the charm of this record, as it appears almost entirely new, yet so utterly familiar, even after repeated listen.

4.8/5

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TRACKLIST

Heterogeneous Substances
Ingenious Pursuits
Lavoisier
Dispatches
E...Quilibrium
Mutti
Interacting Massive Particles
Natural History Of Creation

THOMAS STRØNEN Discography

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO THOMAS STRØNEN
Rune Grammofon
ECM Records

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