Jan Martin Smørdal – “Choosing To Sing” (Sofa Music, 2020)

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A great new album recorded by composer Jan Martin Smørdal, ensemble “neoN” and trumpeter Eivind Lønning is already released – it’s “Choosing To Sing” on “Sofa Music” label. The musicians are great improvisers and the masters of their art – splendid virtuosity, bright dynamic improvising style, expressive playing manner and the will to create something exciting and evocative are the main compounds of their music. The compositions basically are formed on the basics of avant-garde jazz and contemporary academical music.

“Choosing To Sing” is a mix of traditions, innovations and modern expressions. Jan Martin Smørdal shows his capacities of combining together wide range of styles, expressions and tunes – a composer is balancing between abstract and impressive free improvisation and the main tendencies of contemporary academical and experimental music. Sonoristic experiments and the quality of sound are the main priorities of album – the musicians are getting on brave, original and astonishing sonoristic experiments, explore new fields of musical language and research to new, exciting and modern conception. That finally makes an effort to whole sound – the music is bright, expressive, multi-layed and colorful. Short melodic pieces, monotonous tunes, persecuting sessions, various rhythms and gorgeous timbres are extracted by using different kinds of instruments and combined together in one musical pattern. Vividness, expression, lightness and virageous turns, sometimes fragility and subtle pieces, are brought in by reeds. Clarinets and saxophones of various ranges are played in expressive and vital mood – here gorgeous tunes and short repetitive pieces go along with flowing passages, dizzy transcendental ornaments, sharp exclamations, aggressive strikes and strange timbres. A brightness, drive and spills of full blasts are brought in by trumpet – sparkling riffs, radiant perturbations and powerful spills of energy are the leading elements. Vigilence, aggression, power and drive are brought together with light, gentle and expressive reeds. Soft, solemn or relaxing mood is created by flute. Reeds and brass sections are very important compounds of the compositions – these instrumental sections contain the basics of the musical pattern along with piano. From deepness, silence, subtle minimalism or monotonous repetitions piano moves to bright sessions with breaking sequences, sharp disonances, modern and extended playing techniques, strange timbres, special effects, cracking, stretchings, rigorous solos or simply surprising and evocative decisions – the music is completely based on abstract improvising with no strict frames or conventions. Straight, waining, sharp, exciting, anxious or passionate solos are created by strings. Even though all the music is played in abstract form and free improvisation, it has all the main tendencies and fundamental basics related to contemporary academical and experimental music. Modifications, alterations, sonoristic experiments, search to something new, strange and evocative contain the main basics of the musical pattern. Thta makes an inspiring, original and modern sound.

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