Norwegian bass player Rune Nergaard, known from Bushman’s Revenge and his own quartet Rune Your Day, calls Exoterm – the first-ever meeting of his fellow-Norwegian sax player Kristoffer Berre Alberts, known from Cortex and Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit, with American guitarist Nels Cline, of Wilco fame, and drummer Jim Black, who leads his own trio and AlasNoAxis, «one, big gumbo of sound».
This strongly-flavored, culinary image captures well «Exits Into A Corridor», recorded over two days in Brooklyn in January 2018, scheduled to be premièred live in the coming Kongsberg Jazz Festival. Exoterm also refers also to the scientific exothermic process and reaction, where more energy is released than was absorbed to initiate it. This quartet may be a kind of super-group, but certainly not because of the egos of its musicians. It is more about its take-no-prisoners, improvised approach that is not shy of mixing tough bass riffs, cosmic sax cries and atmospheric soundscapes, with no regard to genre boundaries.
Nergaard sketched six «small compositions», all trigger further, collective and personal improvisations, relying on the immediate, emphatic interplay. The opening «First Light» suggests Exoterm modus-operandi – organic, multilayered and gradual build-up of a massive quartet sound that makes full use of assorted effects, and electronics-driven atmospherics, but with no intention to exhaust its full power.
«Forest Mist – Night» is based on hypnotic rhythmic pattern that highlights the tight interplay of Berre Alberts and Black, before it explodes when Cline and Nergaard intervene and expand the sonic envelope. «…Back Towards the Car – Night» transforms fast from a psychedelic, almost techno-like texture into rolling, cathartic rhythmic attack. Cline, and later Berre Alberts, take «Two More Times» to abstract and noisy free-improvised terrains, both challenge the heavy pulse suggested by Nergaard and Black. Only the last «Manufacturing A Smile (Exits Into A Corridor)» is based on a strong, melodic theme, but one that is veiled, twisted and trashed again and again, still, after absorbing so many tough onslaughts insists on releasing its powerful, clear message.
Kristoffer Berre Alberts (s), Nels Cline (g), Rune Nergaard (b), Jim Black (dr, elec)