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På skive



Finnish, Berlin-based guitarist and multimedia artist Markus Pesonen discography so far is quite modest, only seven albums in his discography including «Padme», but each one is a unique sounding project.

His sophomore album with his pan-European Hendectet, following «Hum» (Unit Records, 2011), is one of Pesonen most ambitious works. It stresses his original compositional techniques, blurring the distinction between the well-crafted composed elements, tailored specifically for the individual voices in his group and their skills – among them acclaimed reed players German Frank Gratkowski and Lithuanian Liudas Mockūnas and Swedish trumpeter Tobias Wiklund – with enough room for group and personal spontaneous improvisations.

It also suggests Pesonen rich sound world, encompassing organically extreme and contrasting sonic articulations. He likes to to weave expansive, nuanced pieces that do have the elusive Nordic lyrical-melancholic vibe, but can shift to fiery and intense eruptions and resonate with otherworldly electronics sounds.

«Padme» is developed like a long suite. The first, 16-minutes «North» introduces the group individual voices and its powerful sonic spectrum, as it develops slowly, led by Pesonen commanding guitar playing. But just when you think that you can follow Pesonen tricky compositional ideas, you may find yourself surprised again.

The fascinating second piece, «Blessing in Disguise», is a wild ride that begins with as a distant, delicate chamber interplay, transformed into a heated and muscular reeds conversation, then alternates between all-group chaotic wails and bluesy guitar lines until it finds its tight, driving pulse. Now all the group erupts collectively and individually, before concluding with a quiet, moving coda. This piece suggests a complex, multifaceted process of painting on a huge canvas, full of shades and colors, shifting dynamics and different perspectives.

But then Pesonen surprises again with the following emotional, bossa-nova ballad, «Flowers of Life», with lyrics sung in Russian, still, with an eerie, electronics-based coda,  and  «Pad Me», that is rooted in the legacy of European free jazz. «Bardo», after the Tibetan Buddhist concept of the intermediate state after death and before one’s next birth, when one’s consciousness is not connected with a physical body, is another complex and arresting piece. The accordion of Norwegian Live Berger Brekke and the guitar of Pesonen lead this piece through its shifting dynamics, patiently build the dramatic, cinematic-like tension The last and shortest piece, «funeral», ends this arresting journey in a majestic, emotional tone.

Highly recommended.

Text: Eyal Hareuveni

Anna Chekassina (vocals, violin); Live Berger Brekke (accordion); Adam Pultz Melbye (double bass); Marc Lohr (drums, electronics); Otis Sandsjö (alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet); Liudas Mockūnas (soprano, tenor and bass saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet); Frank Gratkowski  (alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, piccolo); Tobias Wiklund (trumpet, fluegelhorn); Petter Hängsel (trombone); Jonathan Ahlbom (tuba); Markus Pesonen (guitar and electronics).

MARKUS PESONEN HENDECTET – Jazzkerho -76 from Pentti Rautio on Vimeo.

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