Mia Dyberg alto saxophone | Asger Thomsen double bass | Simon Forchhammer drums
Danish alto-saxophonist Mia Dyberg is a philosophical time-traveller, a linear assassin forever ready to toss ol’ Cronos a compositional curveball in her quest for gracefully complex systems of clock-beating abstraction. Her debut album on Clean Feed, 2018’s Ticket!, was a William S Burroughs-indebted boon, inspired by that Beat Gen icon’s cut-up tactics to instigate an explosive, expressionist suite of fresh jazz futures founded on an idiosyncratic archive of shattered pasts and mutant dreams.
With her remarkable follow-up, Timestretch, Dyberg delves deeper still into the realms of temporal dislocation. Alongside fellow countrymen Asger Thomsen and Simon Forchhammer, she draws on theories of relativity, the abiding nowhere zones of nunc stans, Schoenbergian sequential dilation and the wake-up-calls of German-American political thinker Hannah Arendt for a riveting cycle of compositions and collective improvisations, a delicious concatenation that comes alive in its loose-limbed rhythmical exchanges and understated melodicism.
This is a beguiling collection where subtle tone clusters are seemingly constrained in aspic one moment, luxuriating in an elusive infinity the next. Dyberg, Thomsen and Forchhammer, prominent players on the Copenhagen and Berlin scenes, exorcise all the unnecessary here, intrepidly anointing their tender lyricism in pregnant pauses and tension-fuelled intervals, as considered contributions gather significance and potency in the mirror of the ma, with brass-derived gasps, and bass ostinatos fluttering like parades of batting eyelashes, framed and intensified in absorbing counter-space.
Dyberg surgically subverts any preconceived notions of the jazz trio, splintering her formation into its constituent parts, breaking away for a harrowing solo plea during ‘Dedication To Victims Of War’, instigating a daring extra-terrestrial cat-and-mouse of extended techniques between Thomsen and Forchhammer, before reconvening for the groove-hugging swing of Thomsen’s ‘Mullet’ and the heartbreakingly poignant ‘Voldsomt Ritardando’ (dedicated to Dyberg’s mother and aunts). Timestretch is a profoundly intrepid work, teeming with big, progressive ideas. That Dyberg and company marshal these concepts so lucidly, so resourcefully, is testament to their combined focus, vision and winning virtuosity.
All compositions by Mia Dyberg (KODA), except Mullet by Asger Thomsen (KODA) Impro 1 by Forchhammer & Thomsen. Impro 3 by Forchhammer/Thomsen/Dyberg(playing objects). 9, 11, 13, 14 are notional solosaximpro by Dyberg inspired by Hannah Arendt. Voldsomt Ritardando is dedicated to my mother and her two sisters.
Recorded and mixed by Jens Benz in June and October 2022 in Copenhagen | Master Beat Keller
Produced by Mia Dyberg | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Cover drawing by Henning Bolte | Design and Artwork by Travassos