April 30, 2020
An Uncaught Bird - Køs
Label: Forlaget Kornmod
Catalog #: no catalog number
Release Date: March 9, 2020
Media: lp (limited to 200 copies) or digital download
An Uncaught Bird is the debut release by the Copenhagen-based trio composed of Maria Dybbroe (alto saxophone), Valdemar Kragelund (electronics) and Kristian Isholm Saarup (drums). The opening track, Earth's Green Carpet, features contemplative saxophone accompanied by percussion. As the song progresses, the music gradually becomes more dense with multiple layers of saxophone, presumably multi-tracked but perhaps there is real-time manipulation as well. As the density increases, the music adopts an element of dissonance, but never to such an extent that the underlying melody and rhythm are lost.
The title track, An Uncaught Bird, features ethereal saxophone manipulated by various effects including some extended echo. The over-all effect is a languid, atmospheric piece that possesses an appeal for those ears inclined to such things.
Other tracks are clearly more experimental in temperament, being constructed from arhythmic percussive elements, speaker-warping waves of electronic sound and distinctly unmusical blowing of air through the saxophone. All of these components we have heard before, but there is no shame in hearing them again, assembled in new ways and in different proportions, which allows the individual vision of this genre-bending ensemble to be expressed.
What is also neat about this album is the manner in which the musicians insert a subtle hook into the music, which draws the listener in, then abandons that lure as if the very idea of a "hook" is foreign to the esthetics of this kind of improvisation.
The staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House don't have any great confidence that their verbal descriptions of this particular music or any other are intrinsically insightful. Therefore, they try to write as few music reviews as possible. Here, the music moved them in such a way that they felt a compulsion to say something, if only in an attempt to spread the word about this very satisfying music emerging from a new trio.