Standing Out from the Crowd
Lee Ranaldo, Jim Jarmusch, Marc Urselli and Balázs Pándi are quite the ensemble. Having never met before, New York-based producer Marc Urselli somehow managed to gather everyone in EastSide Studios in New York for a special night of musical improvisation and collaboration.
The first track “Andvari” has Pándi producing some jazzy cymbals while a dark bass and detuned, distorted guitars elongate in the wind of the song. Jarmusch manages to create a dark ambiance similar to his previous project An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil. It’s a nice start, almost sounding like a metal ambiance band warming up. There are moments of fluidity in some areas of the song as well. However it never changes direction, in fact, there seems to be little direction after the warming up part of the song. Perhaps that is the beauty in musical improvisation.
“Bergelmir” continues with dark guitars and the same bass. Though it has some of the same tonalities as the first track, the song’s beginning is mesmerizing and hypnotizing. Then, it runs into the same problem as the instruments sound a bit jumbled and random.
The thing is that Pándi’s drum playing is remarkable, however, it gets washed out by the other instruments who never seem to change. “Groa” the 20-minute long song has some nice timbres set within the guitars, however, the drums never seem to fit into the still pattern, or maybe vice versa. The song does have a nice and slow pace to it with some addition of melodies. “Gulltoppr” is where finally the artists find a sort of groove with the bouncy drums. Unfortunately, the tone of the percussion remains the same against the effected-out guitars and makes the juxtaposition a bit bland and hard to get into. “Haar” finishes with mostly ambiance proving a solid outro.
There is no question these artists are extremely talented, however, most of the record feels a bit lost and jumbled, sitting on the edge of brilliance but never quite tipping over. It seemed like the elongated sounds washed out most of the complexities of the percussion and rhythm. Nonetheless, it’s a cool piece if the mood is improv, and the record still greatly stands out from the normal crowd.