The North-Carolina guitarist Tashi Dorji and Indiana-based drummer Tyler Damon have been working extensively since 2015. Dorji and Damon have managed to document their brutal free-improvisations so far over four releases – the CD on «First Meeting», their first performance together, on Damon’s indie label; the cassette «Live at the Spot + 1» on Astral Spirits; The vinyls «Both Will Escape» on Family Vineyard and «III» on Fleeting Tube.
The fifth release of Dorji and Damon – on a fifth label, this time the Austrian Trost – is with Danish sax player Mette Rasmussen, capturing the first ever live performance of these three improvisers as a trio at the Array Space in Toronto on June 2016. Like Dorji and and Damon, Rasmussen, tours constantly and loves the format of volatile free jazz that meets free-improvisations. «To The Animal Kingdom» documents faithfully the raw, ecstatic intensity of this meeting.
The trio manages to form immediately a democratic dynamics. On the first, title-piece Rasmussen channels the muscular, explosive torrents of Dorji and Damon into a more structured narrative, leading and marking the course and the intensity of this raw and fiery piece with her natural charisma. The 23-minutes «To Life» suggest a totally different dynamics. Here the trio develops organically a collective dynamics that focuses on constant searches for new sounds and textures – breathing, scraping the cymbals and drums’ skins and hammering and rubbing the guitar skins. Patiently, the trio develops a tight, explosive pulse but as it climaxes in the fastest and sharpest form the trio resumes its exploratory sonic searches. Rasmussen even offers a touching, lyrical vein in this sparse, abstract segment, before the piece climaxes again in another volcanic eruption. The last piece, «To The Heavens And Earths» develops slowly from a haunting, ritual of metallic bells and strings and singing sax sounds to an intense free-jazz improvisation. Again, it is Rasmussen who frames Dorji and Damon’s powerful but abstract playing into a coherent, ecstatic course, alternating suddenly to a quiet, ritualistic-meditative coda.
I hope that this excellent trio is planning the next chapters in its exciting journey.
Mette Rasmussen (as), Tashi Dorji (g), Tyler Damon (dr)