Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Artist: Rove: Orkestrova (@)
Title: Electric Ascension
Format: CD
Label: Atavistic
Rated: *****
Evidently this is a reworking of John Coltrane's 'Ascension,' although I am not familiar with this work. As the website explains, 'Coltrane's Ascension belongs right up there in the pantheon of multi-recorded masterworks. Since this is only the second recording by someone other than Coltrane, there's plenty of room for it and more. We decided to record it because we could, and because we had a very heavy line-up of 'free-jazz' players who we thought could handle the large ensemble improvisations.' And yes, this is a heavy lineup, most notably Fred Frith and Nels Cline. As I listened to this, I couldn't help thinking back many years ago when I saw the Nels Cline Trio play in a dive bar in Corvallis, Oregon. The bassist played with a drill and completely wrecked everything. Cline was no less inventive. It was frantic and noisy and it was amazing. This is likewise frantic, noisy, and amazing. How they manage to keep it together is a testament to the skill of these musicians. At first listen it sounds chaotic (which is fine with me), but on repeated listens, it is easier to find some structure in the maelstrom. If you like free jazz and improvisation, you probably already have this, but if you don't, you need to get it. This album weighs in at around 64 minutes.