Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Worth It In 2011: #25 - Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio

In a bizarre instance of synchronicity, my review for this album just came up on PopMatters! I certainly did not finagle the End-of-Year results in any way and this is certainly the 25th best album of the year. Good looking album cover, too!

Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio

Here is part of what I said:

Ever the good host, Innanen has placed “Panoramic View” between two of the most kickass blowing sessions of this or any year. He composed “Clustrophy” and “The Grey Adler Returns Again” according to “clustonic principles” understood by approximately six people in the world, none of whom are friends with me on Facebook. Even more obscure than Ornette Coleman’s harmolodics, clustonics outlines methods of extrapolating melody and harmony from non-repetitive tone rows. Or something. At any rate, “Clustrophy” repeats its nine-tone synth bassline over and over, the saxes buzzing overhead like a cloud of gnats. It’s a head-solos-head tune, accessible to jazz neophytes and elevated by the band’s vibrant tone colors and visceral interplay. (Or vice-versa.)

“Grey Adler” is something else again. It’s introduced by an aggressive group head—another nine-tone row punched out like a paddleball—before everything breaks up into chaos. Kantonen plays a wild atonal synth solo, and then Ljungkvist plays the tenor sax version of a synth solo—dry and choppy, an inhuman squeak, until some longer notes finally remind you that a breathing creature is creating these sounds. At this point, the other guys feel compelled to come in and blow whatever the hell they want, and it’s glorious. Before the final head, we hear a crackling sound, as though drummer Riippa is unwrapping a candy bar, while the saxes play long and slow and Kantonen meditates on the tones of the atmosphere. Over in the corner, Innanen pulls out his slide whistle, because…well, why not? The head may be derived from clustonic principles, but the rest seems like people freaking out in whatever entertaining ways occur to them.

Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio: Clustrophy (from "Clustrophy") by Mikko Innanen

(Way better than the Black Lips' Arabia Mountain, which doesn't have anything to do with this album but which I've inexplicably seen on at least one Year-End list, so help me out in the comments.)

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