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Bernado/Rinaudo/Mayot - Ikui Doki

Nick Ostrum, Free Jazz Collective

As testament to Berland’s propensity to explore of the lesser known crevices of the avant-garde world, Ayler has brought us the curious Ikui Doki. Composed of twelve chamber pieces, this album is exploratory, yet deeply rooted in the more melodic strands of contemporary classical music. Songs are generally short; most fall well below the five-minute mark. They are also surprisingly varied. This album has lively ditties such as “Jingle #1” and “Jingle #2,” ethereal meditations such as “Pemayangste” and “Chant Pastoral,” hauntingly mellifluous pieces such as “Tiger” (a fittingly whimsical and mysterious version of William Blake’s “Tyger”) and “Cats and Dogs” and compositions dedicated to Claude Debussy and Steve Reich.

Sophie Bernado (bassoon and vocals), Rafaelle Rinaudo (harp and effects), and Hughes Mayot (reeds) play masterfully on these twelve disparate yet somehow coherent tracks. Many are based on repeating rhythmic melodies. The heavy use of the bassoon overlaying an unconventional background frequently evokes simultaneously Stravinsky and Reichian phasing. Although a few pieces display their energy up front, most subdue that energy under the soft compositional structures, frequently accompanied by distant bucolic woodwind and harp melodies and, on two tracks (“Tiger” and the deeply intimate British folk cum tempered prog-rock “Secretly in Silence”), supple vocals and poetry. This album is a departure for Ayler Records, and a particularly welcome one at that.