What would one get from an ad-hoc, fully improvised, a live night session of strong-minded musicians? With a summit of resourceful, free, cross-stream polluters as American, Sonic Youth’s co-founder-guitarist Lee Ranaldo and film-director-guitarist-electronics player Jim Jarmusch, Swiss-Italian producer-engineer-bass-electronics player Marc Urselli and Hungarian drummer Balázs Pándi you can expect for some beautiful, enigmatic soundscapes..
All four musicians have an extensive experience in such improvised settings. Renaldo have collaborated with William Hooker, Zeena Parkins; Jarmusch plays with Dutch minimalist lute player Josef Van Wissem; Urselli recorded and produced Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn, U2, Foo Fighters, Nick Cave and many more; and Pándi has played with Masami Akita (aka Merzbow), Mats Gustafsson, Renaldo’s comrade in Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore. And Keiji Haino.
The session took place in Urselli’s EastSide Sound studio in downtown New York, recorded analog, with no overdubs and no editing, and later mixed and produced by Urselli. The front and back cover are photos of Norwegian aurora borealis – northern lights – captured by photographer William Semeraro. These photos inspired Urselli to choose titles inspired by Norwegian mythology.
The opening «Andvari», titled after a dwarf who has the power to change himself into a pike (gedda) at will, builds slowly the mysterious, vivid tension and its threatening undercurrents. The following «Bergelmir», titled after a son of a giant, deepens the dense, enigmatic atmosphere while expanding the palette of sounds with subtle electronics and effects. The central piece, the 19-minutes «Groa», named after a mythological prophet has who lost none of her prophetic powers after her death, evokes memories of detailed prog-space-rock suites as it navigates into deep and distant oceans. «Gulltoppr», titled after one of the horses of the gods, is the only piece that begins to explore the dark, unfiltered, energy of such nocturnal journey. This session is concluded with the short «Haar» that distills a fragile, angular melodic lines of the layers of effects, pedals and electronics.
Lee Ranaldo (g, pedals, bells), Jim Jarmusch (g, pedals, midi-synth), Marc Urselli (b, laptop), Balázs Pándi (dr)