Eke – Live at the BIM

Some of the most resonant elements in improvisation are those with delightfully unfamiliar sounds from unrecognizable sources.  In such mysterious cadences, however, there exists an equal and opposite potential for weakness in that whatever that exotic gadget is behind those foreign noises can easily turn into a distracting novelty, or worse, a crutch for otherwise uninteresting music.  For instance, back in 2003 or so when so many post-rock bands wanted to bow their guitars.

With Amsterdam trio Eke’s debut improvised recording, Live at the BIM, the arrhythmic and tumultuous alien sounds that take flight into a whimsical furry are immediate attention-getters.  Yet one begins to question, what is at the center of this free-jazz rock-out?  Is that some detuned bass reminiscent of Brian Gibson?  Perhaps some exotic stringed instrument destroyed beneath piles of effects pedals?  The answer is that Oscar Jan Hoogland is playing a distorted clavichord and achieving some really other-worldly sounds with it.  And the best part is that the band create substantial improv without relying on the instrument as gimmick, such as Aavikko and their organ may be accused (important to note: we here love Aavikko and disagree with this argument).  The clavichord actually takes a backseat often to the whirlwind of percussion issued by Gerri Jager and the spiraling dynamic range of squeal from Yedo Gibson ‘s sax.

Instrumentation aside, the record plays through as a brilliant and solid piece of work that resounds with both fury and grace, violence and control.

Listen to the track “Ramp” below.

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