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På skive


NOTTWO, MW 1026-2

The Greek term Chrysopoeia refers to the alchemical production of Gold. «Chrysopoeia» is also the title of the 10th album of the transatlantic powerhouse trio Ballister – American sax hero Dave Rempis and mad cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm coupled with the inexhaustible energy of Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. The title is also a wordplay on the location of the live recording, the Krakow’s club Alchemia in October 2019. Surprisingly, despite the significant history that all three musicians have with the Polish scene around this club (Rempis and Lonberg-Holm played there since the times of the Vandermark 5, Nilssen-Love played there with The Thing, Ken Vandermark and Peter Brötzmann), «Chrysopoeia» documents the first performance of the trio in Alchemia. The album is released before Ballister begins a North American tour.

«Chrysopoeia» was recorded two days before Ballister’s sister album «Znachki Stilyag» (Aerophonic, 2020), which was recorded live at Moscow’s Dom Cultural Center. Not Two Records label head Marek Winiarski offered Ballister to put the concert out on record the moment they walked offstage, and he knew perfectly why. The free-wheeling Ballister hits hard and wild from the first note and never looks back. Rempis, Lonberg-Holm and Nilssen-Love produce so much positive, irresistible energy and lock into driving and invigorating grooves, and keep the high-energy momentum throughout the performance.

The album features two extended pieces. «Strapling» explodes with such powerful energy that can feed the whole Polish city with electricity for months. Nilssen-Love acts as the master of energetic grooves, always pushing the unabashed yet melodic sax solos of Rempis and the electrified and noisy cello antics of Lonberg-Holm. Ballister even swings in this piece, in its own wild and brutal manner, but swings hard, but never surrenders to familiar dynamics and always suggests a feeling as if a rug is slowly being pulled out from underneath the listener. The second piece «Muffit» begins as a gentle duet of Lonberg-Holm and Rempis, but when Nilssen-Love joins them he ups the temperature exponentially with its powerful, tribal groove. Then, Ballister is tapped into Nikssen-Love’s liberating energy and makes music that is pure gold.

Eyal Hareuveni

Dave Rempis (s), Fred Lonberg-Holm (c, elec), Paal Nilssen-Love (dr) 

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