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In Each and Every One (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

London-based quintet Polar Bear are often tagged as an "avant jazz" group, which is both correct and incorrect, leaning further and further away from being an accurate description of the kitchen-sink genre combinations that make up fifth album In Each and Every One. While still heavy on saxophone from tenor player Mark Lockheart and baritone man Pete Wareham, this album sees the band looking deeper into textures, sound manipulation, and the use of editing and electronics to expand their sound, moving farther away from anything resembling run-of-the-mill jazz. The album opens with "Open See," a seven-minute passage of angelic, ambient textures, water sound effects, and airy, floating sax lines. There are layers of organic instruments buried within the piece, but they come and go slowly, passing as gradually as ice melting on the first sunny day after a long winter. This piece acts as a meditation to clear the mind for the rest of the album, which quickly gets into submerged, almost hip-hop-leaning electronic rhythms on "Be Free." The song's spare groove of upright bass and shuffling, layered drums serves as a background for processed saxophones and blipping electronics. The tune eventually takes a turn toward jarring edits, recalling Aphex Twin or Squarepusher in their jazziest modes. The ambient tendencies continue on tracks like the moody "Two Storms," which finds simple bass and horn figures awash in sheets of caustic noise. The use of production and electronic treatment amplifies almost all of the tracks here, creating interesting pockets of unexpected tension and menace in what would have otherwise stood as somewhat straightforward compositions. [The disc was also released on vinyl.]


Formed: 1999 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Not to be confused with the American alternative rock outfit of the same name, Polar Bear are a British experimental post-jazz five-piece influenced by the likes of Beethoven, Stevie Wonder, and Björk. Formed in London in 2004 by drummer Sebastian Rochford, previously an early member of Babyshambles, saxophonists Pete Wareham and Mark Lockheart, double bassist Tom Herbert, and electronic musician/guitarist Leafcutter John, the band first attracted attention with its 2004 debut album, Dim Lit, whose...
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In Each and Every One (Bonus Track Version), Polar Bear
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