Monday, October 3, 2011

Koptor: Fire Sink

Koptor (group)
Fire Sink (Fresh Sound New Talent; 2011)
Kevin Brow (drums)
Lotte Anker (sax)
Jeppe Skoobakke (bass)
Jacob Anderskov (piano)

I have to first thank fellow blogger, Maciej at Polish Jazz for turning me on to the Canadian/Danish quartet, Koptor. The group is quietly under the radar but have created two highly original and intriguing releases. Both have been on repeat in my household for weeks.

The compositions stem from the creative mind of drummer, Kevin Brow, who continues to gain notoriety both within his group as well as guest musician on records from Mikkel Plough and Bob Brough. With Koptor, Brow and his fellow musicians create a great balance between modern contemporary themes and free improvised organics.

Moving between dense and slight upbeat patterns, "21 Maaneder" features some intense lines from Skoobakke and Brow. All this is encircled by the terrific and melodic tone taken by Anderskov and Anker. It's a piece full of texture and staggered movements. Ankers playing is heartwarming and in some moments playful. 

There have been a few drummers this year that have impressed me with their compositional skills, and Brow is definitely one of them. "Intellectual Sex" is one of the great moments of Fire Sink. Revolving more around the Anderskov and Anker, Brow gives the group room to move quietly and improvise as need through this piece. Brow's performance is impressive because he layers his touches around the edges until the end where the group gives way to a very serious and enveloping solo that brings the group into an almost funky mood. Heated, powerful and inventive.

The group's European side comes to the fore on "Invisible Ikke." Anderskov plays the major role in the opening as he paints a lovely romantic picture for the listener. The majority of piece feels like a sonata but built on the freedom of movement. The rest of band join in to add to clear crisp constructive tones but the composition never leaves it peaceful origins.

"Fire Sink" has some great multi-layers. Anker really takes off on this piece. Her playing is forceful and improvising yet still inviting for the listener. At times you can sense a bit of Ornette or even Zorn floating through the notes. Brow, Skoobake and Anderskov play a perfect counterpoint Anker and manage to lay down a minimalistic groove if you can call it that.

Fire Sink is an impressive second effort from the four year old band Koptor. Koptor has quickly formed a group that is both richly creative and able to gravitate between improvised and straight ahead with ease. Fire Sink is excellent.

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