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You Should Have Seen Me

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Album Review

Co-founders of the Sofa label, Ingar Zach and Ivar Grydeland here push their musical association further. You Should Have Seen Me Before We First Met is generally a stronger offering than Visiting Ants, released in 2000. Where the first album consisted of several short pieces, some of them solo features, this one presents two extended improvisations. The playfulness displayed earlier has given way to something different but no less impressive. The focus has been moved from stamina to texture. Certain stretches feature the guitarist and the percussionist playing hypnotic drones (mechanical devices are being used, probably a hand-held fan in Grydeland's case). Zach displays a lot of invention, adding a few tricks of his own to the usual cymbal bowing and scrap-metal tossing to create unusual textures sounding somewhere between vibrating surfaces and guitar. Grydeland switches between acoustic and electric guitar, prepared and unprepared. Track one, "In Geneva," is the longest and most interesting of the two. For 30 minutes, the duo locks in and doesn't let go, letting the music unfold slowly through seguing episodes of dynamic free improvisation, meditative microsonics, and gentle acoustic guitar playing. In comparison, "In Oslo" lacks a bit of cohesion. Ideas are slow to come in and are introduced somewhat clumsily (Grydeland's electric guitar halfway through, Zach's sudden switch from sustained textures to hitting). The fragmented flow of the piece should be grabbing the listener's attention, but it sounds too arbitrary to succeed. Luckily, that's not enough to lessen the appeal of the first improvisation. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Ingar Zach is part of a contingent of Norwegian avant-garde jazz musicians who organized themselves a scene in the mid- to late-'90s. A free jazz drummer with a propensity to slip effortlessly into something more non-idiomatic, Zach displayed a good balance between industriousness and subtlety, much like countryman Paal Nilssen-Love. He is best known for his work in the groups Tri-Dim and No Spaghetti Edition. He co-runs the small free improv label Sofa. Born in 1971, Zach has studied classical...
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You Should Have Seen Me, Ingar Zach
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