Nine years after the Danish quartet Selvhenter – drummers Jaleh Negari and Anja Jacobsen, alto sax player Sonja LaBianca and trombonist Maria Bertel – released Motions of Large Bodies (eget værelse) it finally returns with a new and promising fascinating phase in its evolution. Selvehenter still juggles with hypnotic polyrhythms, seductive electroacoustic melodies and power riffs, but now it is all wrapped in a more subtle and elaborate, architectural ecosystem, as the cover artwork by Brenna Murphy suggests.
Selvhenter still works within their own highly personal idiom and its genre-binding sonic vision. Bertel puts her trombone through a bass amplifier loud enough to rattle your chest and LaBianca puts her sax through a range of effects so that it often sounds unrecognizable, while Negari and Jacobsen interlock as frequently as they go their own way. The music may make you dance involuntarily, stick a smile on your face and make you think how Selvhenter can blend so seamlessly elements from free jazz with electronic dance music, noise and post-punk. But it works beautifully and Selvhenter sounds like one of its kind outfit, a tight collective, bigger than its parts.
Mesmerizer is released by the French label Hands in the Dark. Its attention to sonic details is pushed to an extreme, making the open auditory adventure suggested by the title of the album all the more captivating. The propulsive music, with its layered, complex rhythmic patterns and textured, effects-laden horns and synths, is more intriguing and explorative than ever, but still poetic, ecstatic and powerful. No other band can mix in such an organic, inventive and unpredictable manner a massive rhythmic grind with a noisy, yet futurist-folky melody like Selvhenter does on «Rundhyl» or hypnotize the innocent listener into a ritualist, meditative dance on «Anker».
Mesmerizer is a brilliant album. As soon as you finish listening to it, most likely you would desire to listen to it again, and again.
Sonja LaBianca (as), Maria Bertel (tb, synth), Jaleh Negari (dr, perc), Anja Jacobsen (dr, perc, keys)