Edward Vesala/Sound & Fury: Nordic Gallery (ECM 1541)

Edward Vesala
Sound & Fury
Nordic Gallery

Jorma Tapio alto saxophone, bass and alto clarinets, bass flute
Jouni Kannisto tenor saxophone, flute
Pepa Päivinen tenor, soprano, baritone and bass saxophones, flute, alto flute, piccolo
Matti Riikonen trumpet
Iro Haarla harp, piano, keyboard
Jimi Sumen guitar
Edward Vesala drums, percussion, bass, tamboura, angklung
Petri Ikkela accordion
Pekka Sarmanto bass
Kari Linsted cello
Tapani Rinne clarinet
Recorded 1993/94 at Sound & Fury Studio, Korkeakoski, Finland
Engineer: Jimi Sumen
Mixed at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher and Edward Vesala

Piggybacking on 1992’s Invisible Storm, ECM maverick Edward Vesala returned with his organic collective, Sound & Fury, as our guide for Nordic Gallery. Vesala draws a thinner circle around his ensemble this time around, weaving inside it a dreamcatcher for communal freedom, as exemplified in the 11-minute “Bird In The High Room,” a menagerie of cymbals, muted horns, drums, and birdsong. The latter signals a luxuriant indulgence in the Vesala soundscape as winds and wings fall in line like a panel out of Where the Wild Things Are. Even the electric guitar whistles in its sibilant cage, avian heart unfolded. Field recordings continue to leave breadcrumb trail of “Fulflandia” on its way toward “The Quay of Meditative Future.” Harpist Iro Haarla’s veiled and omnipresent insistence turns arrival into departure as the music’s long-shadowed caravan cuts a line in the sand. The mélange of flavors in “Hadendas”—ranging from roller rink organ and winds to Vesala’s own thumping accompaniment—lifts the tent flap of this night circus to usher in the “Unexpected Guest.” Is it the listener? The critic? The dog who’s been running circles outside this entire time? No, no, and yes. Such is the nature of this narrative turn, which cracks like the vocal egg that opened Storm. Accordion and gravelly tenor trade hands in “Bluego,” a tango deconstructed and put back together in reverse before an arrangement of “Lavander Lass Blossom” wilts, upended and suspended. A series of tunes at once glittering from Haarla’s careful appliqué of intimate crafts (“Streaming Below The Times”) and darkening in twisted whimsy (“One-Two-Three Or Four-Five-Six”) presses on through shimmer and corrosion into “Flavor Lust,” thus closing shop and hanging the day’s labor out to dry.

<< Heinz Holliger: Beiseit/Alb-Chehr (ECM 1540 NS)
>> Keith Jarrett Trio: Standards In Norway (ECM 1542)

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