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The sophomore release of this Swedish-French trio is powerful as its excellent debut from two years ago, Snus (Ayler, 2010). Can't Stop Snusing, named after the Swedish moist-powder tobacco, is an infectious, raw and direct set of free jazz improvisations by fearless musicians. The trio is comprised of Swedish trumpeter Niklas Barnö and bassist Joel Grip, who also collaborate in the Swedish sextet Je Suis!, and French autodidact drummer Didier Lasserre.
From the first seconds of the opening "Admitting," the trio articulates a massive, muscular sound. There is no clear theme, nor is there any attempt to stick to a defined rhythmic structure; the music just flows organically—raw, energetic and intense—raising the tension until the collective sound drowns in Lasserre's cymbals. "Believing" enables the trio to explore the full potential of its instruments—Lasserre producing drone sounds while bowing the cymbals; Grip using extended techniques with his bow; and Barnö ejecting fragmented sounds from his trumpet—all accumulating into a dark, cinematic piece.
"Deciding" develops patiently from short, subtle and almost abstract, immediate gestures that feature the poetic side of these master improvisers and their sensitive interplay. Slowly, these gestures gain volume and energy and gel into an addictive, high octane improvisation. "Surrendering" follows, also beginning with an investigation of short and rapid sonic components, but the interplay is full of humor and surprise, using the full range of instrumental sounds available to sketch an arresting and chaotic narrative. The closing "Awakening" is another powerful and intense free improvisation. Again, the trio gallops forward, defying any thematic or rhythmic structure, but with characteristic volcanic power and rich imagination. It is a masterful performance of collective free improvisation in its highest order.
Barnö, Grip and Lasserre deliver another excellent gem.
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