Flin van Hemmen – “Casting Spells & The Coves” (Neither/Nor Records, 2019)

“Casting Spells & The Coves” was recorded by Todd Neufeld (acoustic guitar), Eivind Opsvik (double bass, glockenspiel) and Flin van Hemmen (piano, farfisa, percussion). Independent and expressive style, astonishing experiments, evocative ideas and innovative point of view – all these elements join together the musicians. The music is completely based on experimental jazz, free improvisation and the basics of avant-garde jazz. There are some relations to other styles – academic avant-garde, experimental and ethnic music of various countries. The musicians are the masters of their art – they join together masterful virtuosity, splendid technique, original ideas and impressive improvising.

Independent and bright melody line is basically kept by piano and acoustic guitar. Flin van Hemmen makes a great combo of piano, farfisa and percussion. Improviser has an expressive and moving playing manner filled with joyful, fresh and luminous sound. That brings live and energy to his improvisations. Glamorous enchanting solos, dynamic emotional melodies, thrilling strikes, sudden attacks which grow directly to wild booming culminations or transcendental furiously fast passages – that’s the base of piano improvisations. Moving and colorful rhythms, timbres and tunes of percussion, exotic sounds of farfisa gorgeously illustrate moving, sometimes – radical, frantic and perturbating – piano improvisations. Piano certainly is the key element of the melody line – its tunes bring energy, drive, passion and joy to whole album. Todd Neufeld’s guitar is luminous, expressive and dynamic. Improviser is expanding the zone of comforting and usual sound – he goes directly to new, astonishing, evocative and original sound mixed with strange timbres, sonoristic experiments, inventive ideas and modern expressions. From silent and subtle pieces the music gets noisy, straining, stitching, sharp and bright, accompagnied by flying passages, glamorous remarkable riffs and blooming culminations. From time to time, improviser enters in lyrical, minimalistic and ascetic pieces which have a meditative and contemplative mood. All these elements make an effort to original and exciting sound.  We have another one interesting combo here – glockenspiel and double bass duo in Eivind Opsvik’s improvisations. Deep and heavy tunes form a stable bass line, repetitive series and monotonic steady rhythms make a minimalistic and lyrical mood. From here double bass jumps on striking riffs, engaging and extremely rapid solos, enchanting ornaments, passionate expressive melodies, brave experiments, ambitious adventures, stitching, frantic, buzzing, frotting and furious pieces made at the instant. All three improvisers are playing with expression and drive. Suggestion, the will to create an original and exceptional sound, passion to new, modern sound and inventions in every way finally make a multi-layed musical pattern and innovative instrumental section. Experimental, specific, weird, strange, unknown and innovative playing techniques contain the main base of instrumental section, Expressive, vital and rich musical language is created. The album has inspiring, exciting and original sound.



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