«Dormancy» is the third recorded collaboration of Copenhagen-based American alto sax player Aram Shelton and Norwegian drummer-percussionist Håkon Berre, following last year «Bygning G» (Released on Shelton’s Bandcamp page, 2017) and «Hopes and Fears», a quartet with Polish double bass player Tomo Jacobson and pianist Grzegorz Tarwid (MultiKulti, 2017). «Dormancy», release on Shelton’s Bandcamp page, was recorded on January 2018 at Birkebo, in a garden house on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Although the natural surroundings were largely dormant, iit took only few moments of lightning clouds and there were signs of the coming spring.
As often happens in such meetings where music is being created in real-time, the musical bond between these close and resourceful improvisers becomes more profound and nuanced. Shelton and Berre keep refining their intimate interplay, experimenting with the outer capabilities of their instruments via extended techniques and non-traditional sounds, and occasionally visiting brief melodies and fragmented rhythms. It is obvious that both Shelton and Berre consciously attempt to avoid any preconceived strategies and notions. But this demanding aesthetics does not mean that these free improvisations do not gravitate towards a distinct idea, sonic territory or a mood, even if a loose or abstract ones.
The first piece, «New Growth», dances around few melodic themes before disintegrating into sparse, parallel interplay. «Light» continues the previous vein, but in a quiet but restless and expressive manner, relying on Shelton’s extended breathing techniques and minimalist coloring of Berre. «Water» deepens this vein, begins as an almost silent drone but patiently gains more power and colors while «Respiration» builds on that burst of energy and solidifies it as an intense, free jazz duet. «Mobilization» explores an abstract, searching mode that touches and goes fragmented sounds and noises. Again, «Embryo» takes these fragmented sounds and cleverly and methodically weave a melodic and powerful texture. «Seedling» continues this close, playful interplay but divert it into a more relaxed mode as Shelton cries, shouts and breaths are answered immediately by the rattling sounds and percussive objects that Berre introduces to his drum set. This set of improvisations is concluded with the quiet and peaceful drone «Flowering». The bowed cymbals and fragmented percussive sounds of Berre extend the soft and gentle breaths of Shelton.
Aram Shelton (as), Håkon Berre (perc)