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The Electrics - Chain of Accidents

Derek Taylor, One Final Note

Free improvisation has long been an endeavour where traditional roles ascribed to instruments are routinely subverted and often completely abandoned. A saxophone, for instance, isn't simply a vehicle by which structures such as melody and harmony may be realized. It more significantly becomes a birthing vessel for found sounds borne out of breath manipulations and tonal deconstruction. Commonly known under the inclusive rubric of 'extended techniques,' these exploratory proclivities can lead to quickly discernable rewards or, just as often, discouraging brick walls.

Their moniker may run contrary to the true parameters of their instrumentation, but The Electrics still pack a wallop of improvisatory am page through the conductive congruence of their four fertile minds. Individual demonstrations of extended techniques are mustered into service during their interplay, but an effective ensemble mindset effectively derails individual egos.
Saxophonist Sture Ericson admits in his accompanying notes that the quartet was averse to rehearsals from the start. Their 'hit it and play' credo creates startling sections of spontaneous interaction, but it also begs the question of how would the group sound different had they incorporated a modicum of premeditation into their music. Fortunately what's on hand diminishes the need for this kind of conjecture, as the four rely on dynamic shifts and an almost obsessive attention to detail. Sections of near silence vie with passages of boisterous effusion and the boundaries between free jazz and free improvisation become blurred to the point of opacity.
The phonetically similar nature of the track titles points to the quartet's decision to return to past signposts on their journey, albeit in different guises. Chance and accident intervene only as far as the players' extemporaneous interplay; otherwise it's an enterprise of close listening and on-the-fly invention.
Axel Dörner and Ericson blend in a particularly sensitive front line on the opening title piece. The former initially eschews his more abstract inklings for chattering streams of smeared notes striated by legato lines. Eventually his tone devolves into moist sputtering against a prickly pizzicato backdrop from Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. Ericson resorts to reed pops and flutterings to further explicate the illusion of gossiping beasts converging at some dank watering hole.
Later pieces chart a similar trajectory in a balance between the linear and the amorphous with "Change of Accidents" being perhaps the most fully realized marriage of the two, as Ericson's whirring bass clarinet matches wits with Flaten's febrile strings excited by hummingbird fingers.

Listeners with ears tuned in to either variety of improvisatory approach will find plenty to adjust their ears to in this approximate hour of music.