The Norwegian experimental band MoE, led by bass player and vocalist Guro Skumsnes Moe, and Danish, Trondheim-based sax hero Mette Rasmussen began their ongoing collaboration in 2018 and since then toured Norway, Mexico, and Japan together, but Skumsnes Moe and Rasmussen collaborated before with the Jooklo Trio and with American beat poet Anne Waldman. MoE and Rasmussen recorded their first album, «Tolerancia Picante» (Conard Sound, 2019, with liner notes by Waldman), in September 2018. Upon the release of «Tolerancia Picante» MoE and Rasmussen began a long and intense in Japan tour where they collaborated and played with several important figures from the Japanese free-improv scene, among them koto player Michiyo Yagi.
MoE and Rasmussen teamed in Sapporo with legendary drummer Ikuru Takahashi, who has played in seminal Japanese bands like Fushitsusha and Maher Shalal Hash Baz and now runs his book and record shop and label Galleria Zarigania, releasing his electronics work and drum solos. MoE, Rasmussen and Takahashi recorded «Painted» at Black Snowflake Sound in Sapporo in April 2019.
Takahashi fits organically in the urgent, high-octane energy of MoE and Rasmussen. His freestyle of drumming propels the in-your-face, intense attacks of this quartet, with MoE’s guitarist Håvard Skaset, completely blurring the distinction between raw punk energy, pure noise, and free jazz meets free-improvisation. Rasmussen injects a loose sense of coherence into the free-associative, kind of freak-out pieces like the opening «Favourite lungs breath out your tar complete the warriors heart testify if sound hits you», and transforms immediately Skumsnes Moe fierce wordless shouts, chants, and thunderous bass slaps into ecstatic eruptions as on «cuts your heart out I run so fast» and «my stones».
Rasmussen also injects brief gentle and melodic gestures in pieces like «I can’t carry my heart soul arrest the giant», contrasting the thorny attack of Skumsnes Moe, Skaset and Takahashi. The main piece is the 17-minutes «echo will you sit by my side swallow my anger» that builds its tension methodically, beginning with almost silent sax blows and highly resonant bass touches of Skumsnes Moe and Rasmussen, blossoms slowly into a haunting, mysterious piece, and concludes with a grandiose meltdown of noisy sounds and sax shrikes and wails. The last piece «painted painted painted painted painted painted painted painted painted painted painted» is built like an enigmatic ritual. The quartet acts like shamans of distortion and noise who patiently channel the voluminous energy.
Please, bring me more of this right stuff.
Guro Skumsnes Moe (b, v), Håvard Skaset (g), Mette Rasmussen (as), Ikuro Takahashi (dr)