This ad-hoc quartet of master free-improvisers – American trumpeter Nate Wooley, Lithuanian reeds player Liudas Mockūnas, British double bass player Barry Guy and the still criminally underrated, fellow-Lithuanian drummer Arkadijus Gotesmanas, was recorded in October 2019 during the concert series Improdimensija (Improdimension) at MAMAstudios in Vilnius, Lithuania. This concert series also produced Guy’s solo bass recital «Irvin’s Comet» (NoBusiness, 2021). «Nox» documents the first time that all four musicians played together on stage, though Mockūnas and Guy recorded before as a duo («Lava», NoBusiness, 2012) and Mockūnas and Gotesmanas performed together before (and played in Mats Gustafsson’s «The Vilnius Explosion», (NoBusiness, 2008) and with pianist Vyacheslav Ganelin, «September 2018»). «Nox» is released as a limited edition of 300 vinyl plus download option.
The atmosphere of this free-improvised set is a chamber, highly nuanced and poetic. The subtle and always inventive bass work of Guy charges this set with unpredictable rhythmic layers. Gotesmanas’ kinetic touch intensifies Guy’s work with precise percussive punctuation. Mockūnas and Wooley establish immediately a natural, intuitive interplay, both employ their extended breathing technique and at times they sound like one sonic entity. Side A features «MULTA DIES», with Mockūnas on sopranino sax, ignites a few times, but in an organic manner that stresses the quartet’s reliance on a most immediate and attentive dynamics that keeps feeding all musicians with new ideas.
Side B begins with «MULTA NOX», a more introspective and darker piece, that allows Wooley – on muted trumpet – and Mockūnas – on contrabass clarinet – to suggest melodic veins of an emotional song, while Guy and Gotesmanas color their fragile with poetic, fragmented rhythmic patterns, often quite subversive ones. The last and shortest piece «MULTA LUX», with Mockūnas on tenor sax, brings the quartet’s profound and stimulating interplay to its most ecstatic climaxes. Every gesture of Wooley, Mockūnas. Guy and Gotesmanas, feed the intense, conversational interplay with more expressive and engaging nuances and colors, deepening this masterful and most inspiring form of the art of the moment.
Only 37 minutes long but every second speaks volumes.
Nate Wooley (tp), Liudas Mockūnas (contrabass cl, sopranino s, ts), Barry Guy (b), Arkadijus Gotesmanas (dr, perc)