«Most Intimate» is Norwegian quartet Nakama third release in the last year, and the last one before Nakama expands as a quintet with the addition of vocal artist Agnes Hvizdalek. As on the previous releases of this musicians-collective label and Nakama quartet, «Most Intimate»is also structured as conceptual album even though this time the quartet is not investigating sonic articulations or forms, but suggests a more personal and intimate tone, highlighting each of the Nakama musicians – violinist Adrian Løseth Waade, pianist Ayumi Tanaka, drummer Andreas Wildhagen and double bass player Christian Meaas Svendsen – as resourceful improvisers, soloists and composers.
The concise fifteen pieces are grouped into three departments, first one asks a question, second one offers a response and the last one lays ground for an agreement or solutions. The first one is the Dedications trios: Svendsen dedicated one piece to Wildhagen, Wildhagen to Waade, Waade to Tanaka and Tanaka to Svensen, in all of these Dedications the composers of these pieces do not play; second is the Gratitudes solos and duos: short improvisations that involve all four musicians, but with the dedicator and the receiver swapping instruments; and last, third one, the Unifications quartets: free interpretations of the aforementioned themes in which all the four musicians swap instruments.
Obviously and hopefully, many will experience «Most Intimate»with no idea how it is structured. Svendsen who devised this game-like structure even managed to surprise the Nakama musicians with this concept. He wanted to take advantage of the quartet fatigue after an exhausting 9-days tour, when the «discerning, analytic and intellectual mind is bypassed». These short pieces sound fresh and playful, sometimes even inventive and experimental, but their brief nature and the strict rules do not leave enough space for an organic ideas or deeper interplay to develop. Still few of these conceptual pieces stand out as the lyrical and serene «Dedication I», the muscular and intense «Dedication II» and the meditative «Gratitude III». The most impressive, beautiful peace is actually the title-piece that was not part of conceptual game-like play, the only piece that all Nakama musicians were familiar with before the recording session.
Adrian Løseth Waade (v, p, dr, b), Ayumi Tanaka (p, vio, dr, b), Andreas Wildhagen (dr, vio, p, b), Christian Meaas Svendsen (b, vio, p dr)