By Tim Niland
This is a very exciting no holds barred duet between Steve Noble on drums and Kristoffer Berre Alberts tenor saxophone, and they create mighty waves of music over the course of three lengthy selections. Noble has had many superb collaborations with luminaries including Derek Bailey and Peter Brotzmann and Alberts is a rising star who plays with great groups like Cortex and Starlite Motel. The album opens with “Animal Settlement” which bursts into being with crashing drums and wailing saxophone and the improvisation that the two musicians are able to weave together is a very exciting and powerful one. They are able to use sense of dynamism to their advantage, raising and lowering the intensity in an unpredictable fashion and reacting to each other and the music in real time. There is a certain quality of the unknown always present, and Alberts responds with a raw and rough toned patina to his playing which is very evocative in the context of Noble’s powerful drumming and they combine to be a considerable force. Noble’s drums roll and crash, flexing and warping the rhythms he produces. There is a more open and spare sensibility to “Inclination” with Albert’s quavering tone reminiscent of the mid-1960’s tenor saxophone tone of Albert Alyer. The music is deeply free and the musicians are interacting in a very mindful state. Pleas and bleats of air meet with scattered percussion, making the music seem suspended in space, all with a distinct lack of ego. The music builds back up to a thrilling pitch as the musicians explore the widest possibilities for freedom of expression in non-judgemental and unfolding explorations. The penultimate track is “Order Left Behind” which evolves over sixteen minutes into a fantastic improvised journey. Peals of saxophone and poten percussion open the piece strong but the music continues to evolve throughout. The playing is cliche free throughout and riveting to listen to. The music is dense and intense, seeming to drag everything that happens to be in their path dense like a black hole, yet it still producing a raft of little details, inviting close and intense listening.