Friday, November 11, 2011

Aram Shelton & Kjell Nordeson: Incline

Aram Shelton (sax)
Kjell Nordeson (drums)
Incline (Singlespeed Music; 2011)

Aram Shelton has been one of my favourite discoveries over the last few years. There's a forcefulness and deep intuitiveness to his performances that has always amazed me.

Kejell Nordeson is a terrific and inventive drummer whom I have followed since his days with Swedish outfit Aaly Trio (due to their recordings with Ken Vandermark).

It's no really surprise that these two creative forces finally found each other with their group Cylinder. The two minds are on a very distinct and similar wavelength.

While Cylinder is an improv masterclass, the duo's project, Incline (Singlespeed Music) is more a free-thinking sprawling yet very honed study of personal interplay. "Village" is an incredible opening track. A torrent of sound on par with David S. Ware/Andrew Cyrille. The piece builds rapidly as the two scream back and forth with notes that peel the skin from your eardrum. Fun, eh?!?

"Orbit" is more a solo outing for Nordeson as he picks, clangs, taps and pounds notes from the ether. Beautiful and investigating, it all flows nicely into "Test", a melodic piece that is percussive and emotional. Led by heavy, deep undertones from Shelton and Nordeson create a blossoming atmosphere that fills the space yet is completely free of structure.

"Rig" sees Shelton in the solo role. Here stretching and constructing notes paint a slow moving Jackson Pollack-esque picture. The piece is short but moves nicely into "Soles," a mountain of a piece that rips the top off of everything. Shelton and Nordeson seems to be in a completely higher plane. The piece gets louder and louder with the two seemingly melding into one until a gentle all-halt.

Incline is an album of multi-layered complexity. The unity between the Nordeson and Shelton is very apparent through each note. This is the duo that was long in the making but we are better off for it. Incline is another keen masterpiece in the history of both Aram Shelton and Kjell Nordeson.

This video features Cylinder but gives a great insight into the two musicians unique talents as well as a fascinating look at their quartet.

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