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KODIAN TRIO . I
cd

1. VIII 2. V 3. II 4. VII 5. III

Andrew Lisle : drums
Dirk Serries : electric guitar
Colin Webster : alto and baritone saxophone

Performed at Soundsavers, London (UK) on October 30th 2015.  Recorded by Alex Clegg. Mixed and mastered by Dirk Serries.  Sleeve notes : Guy Peters.  Layout : Rutger Zuydervelt.

“Kodian Trio … blasts through, mashing free improv clicks and clatters with free jazz-inspired hoots and hollers, all wrapped up in a waistcoat of gimlet-eyed punk attitude.”  – Paul Margree, We Need No Swords

“Przejdźmy do świata improwizujących winyli! Na początek Kodian Trio i ich debiutancki krążek *) o oczywistym tytule I  (tf168, 2016), zarejestrowany (wykonany) w Soundsdavers’ Studio (Londyn) w październiku 2015 roku. Personalnie przed nami: Andrew Lisle – perkusja, Dirk Serries – gitara elektryczna oraz Colin Webster – saksofon altowy i barytonowy. Pięć odcinków muzycznych, 47 minut.

Pierwszy. Od startu trafia się nam precyzyjna, jazzowa narracja. Stanowczy tembr barytonu, zwinna, błyskotliwa perkusja i gęste, gitarowe frazowanie, które z kocią zręcznością wkleja się w pasaże kreowane przez pozostałe instrumenty. Lisle nie stroni od sonorystycznych eskapad, Serries lubi się pętlić na gryfie (recenzentowi przypomina wręcz … Jamesa Blood Ulmera!), a Webster – w chwilach wyciszenia – świetnie odnajduje się w dźwiękach pozbawionych faktury melodycznej i rytmicznej. Pod koniec tej opowieści, gitarzysta sięga po smyczek (tak to przynajmniej brzmi). Drugi. Ostry, hałaśliwy odcinek. Rockowy, czupurny zgiełk. Emocje bez patosu. Trzeci. Gitara koi nerwy, choć saksofon ma zdanie odrębne. Ponownie improwizacja osadzona w jazzowym idiomie. Serries gra akordami (powykręcanymi, oczywiście). Webster jest szorstki w obyciu, a Lisle ponownie diabelnie błyskotliwy. Gdy numer ma się ku końcowi, świetny saksofon eskaluje się przy drobnej podcierce perkusji. Czwarty. Jakby ciąg dalszy – duo sax-drums w oczekiwaniu na krotochwilną, płynną gitarę. This is noise jazz! – pilnie notuje, ciągle czymś zaskakiwany recenzent. Gęsto, dynamicznie, bez przecinków. Kompatybilne trio! Szemrząca gitara w tle na finał fragmentu. Piąty. Serries i Webster suną powolnymi dronami, każdy dość separatywnie. Po kilku minutach, rezonującym talerzem, przypomina o sobie Lisle. Narracja snuje się po kątach i nie zadaje pytań egzystencjalnych. Muzycy mają się jednak ku końcowej eskalacji, co czynią błyskotliwie, bez zwyczajowej nostalgii i wybrzmiewania na ostatni dźwięk. Z kajetu recenzenta: dużo free jazzowych fraz, mniej ambientu, a Serries nie zawsze w roli głównej.”  Spontaneous Music Tribune – Poland

“Are you ready for some meticulously disjointed free improv? If so you’re in luck, as that’s precisely what the Dutch outfit the Kodian Trio excel at. Their first album I was released earlier this year, and it’s full of the scratchy, clicky difficult listening that we all love. One track that stands apart from the rest of the album is V, which sees the group cut loose with amplification and general skronkiness. It also sees them play a bit more with rock tonalities – Dirk Serries’ electric guitar may be chopping and switching, but every so often there’ll be a phrase that sounds like it might have been played by Mick Ronson. Colin Webster is furious on sax, and Andrew Lisle likewise sounds as if he’s acknowledging the rock influences, right up to the point where everything gets blasted into fragments. Really fun noises.” Cyberinsekt – UK

“Não é possível definir, em concreto, uma fórmula específica para a música improvisada. Seria minimamente correcto chamar-lhe “liberdade” musical: mas até essa simples palavra pode ter inúmeras definições. Uma pessoa nascida na Noruega não terá, por exemplo, o mesmo conceito de liberdade que alguém oriundo da Arábia Saudita. Da mesma forma, todos os “improvisos” soarão diferentes de conjunto para conjunto, pelo que tentar traçar o género não será apenas impossível, mas inútil.
A improvisação na música abrange, contudo, todas as áreas. Um solo de guitarra nu tema pop/rock pode ser improviso. Na música erudita, especialmente a do século XX, a improvisação permeia grande parte das composições, de Xenakis a Stockhausen, de Henry Cowell a La Monte Young. No jazz, deu origem ao free – música sem regras, indomável e inclassificável. Do silêncio ao ruído, de instrumentos convencionais a objectos tornados música, são inúmeras as maneiras através das quais se pode fazer música improvisada.
O Kodian Trio, composto por Andrew Lisle, Dirk Serries e Colin Webster, escolheu utilizar no seu primeiro álbum os instrumentos com os quais cada membro estava mais familiarizado: bateria, guitarra eléctrica e saxofone (alto e barítono), respectivamente. Cada qual – como acontece em vários conjuntos do tipo – com a sua própria linguagem musical, com as suas próprias noções de pára-arranca: imagine-se três carros com cilindradas diferentes a correrem lado a lado.
O resultado da improvisação, especialmente no jazz (que é onde se insere, grosso modo, este registo) é não raras vezes cacofónico, um choque sonoro onde qualquer noção de harmonia fica à porta. Por ser livre, não há aqui nada convencional – há timbres, texturas, um mood geral que pode ser branco, preto, bipolar… Olhe-se para o primeiro dos cinco temas aqui presentes, que na verdade se chama “VIII”: a guitarra de Serries vai serpenteando sem (aparente) nexo, o saxofone cria algo vagamente semelhante a uma noção popular de melodia e a percussão é espástica, arrítmica; quer isto dizer que “soa mal”? Não: basta sentir.  No caso de I, o sentimento reinante é o de uma enorme tensão – nervosa, assustadora – descrita em sons ao invés de notas. O de uma tensão que dá lugar à violência, expressa em “V”, segunda faixa: choque em cadeia envolvendo os três instrumentos, rebelião a roçar o noiseI não é um disco fácil para o ouvido pop/rock, porque não contém nada que se assemelhe sequer a um protótipo de canção; mas se o apelo do rock for a electricidade, a vertigem, o abismo, então há muito por onde pegar dentro da música improvisada, incluindo este mesmo disco – que, ouvidas bem as coisas, é puramente rock n’ roll.” Altamont – Portugal

“Lisle, Serries and Webster reconvened again in October 2015 for another studio recording at the same studio in London, now calling themselves the Kodian Trio. This trio is supposed to be a working group and is already touring the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Again I is a limited-edition vinyl (240 copies).  The interplay on Kodian Trio debut is much more energetic and experimental than the one explored on Apparitions. Serries and Webster alternate the leading roles, both sounding aggressive and assertive. Serries explores noisy feedback and metallic percussive terrains. Webster attacks and explodes, employing extended breathing techniques blended with dense, fast crys. Lisle avoids the abstract, fractured drumming and colors the improvised texture with inventive, fast-shifting dynamics. All three sound as pushing the sonic envelope to its extreme edges in each of the five improvised pieces. The last two pieces, “VII” and “III”, are the most focused one. On the first one Webster flirts with a jazzy, Balkan-tinged theme while the latter develops almost like an Indian raga. Beginning with a slow and contemplative introduction of the theme, dispersed into an abstract, searching texture and then gels into a cathartic interplay, where the rough, metallic strumming of Serries collides with the fast sax shouts of Webster and the forceful drumming of Lisle.” Free Jazz Collective.

Kodian Trio sees the titular threesome of Colin Webster, Andrew Lisle and Dirk Serries blast through five tracks, mashing free improv clicks and clatters with free jazz-inspired hoots and hollers, all wrapped up in a waistcoat of gimlet-eyed punk attitude. Its companion Apparitions sees the trio joined by saxophonist John Dikeman for a four-headed horn-guitar and drum attack.The similarity of line up and ferocity of planning on these two releases prompts us to consider them as a single set, like those Miles Davis’ quintet records on Prestige, even though they were laid down on separate dates. Still, I like to think of them taking place during one particularly frenetic session in a grubby basement somewhere, with Dikeman arriving just in time to inject a final burst of energy into the trio’s free-form jags (if you’re listening to the trio first) or, alternatively, laying down some molten licks to the other three’s broken-glass attack before slipping out into the night (if you start with the quartet). They’re both great, anyway, gritty and detailed in places, piercing and fluid in others, each player’s contribution well defined but never smothering anyone else with too much juice. And, while there’s possibly more space on the trio record, the quartet album offers up a nice contrast, its dense aggression positively glowering with dark energy.  The lack of a bassist means that there’s not exactly a surfeit of low-end on either record – save Colin Webster’s fine bass sax drones and howls, which on occasion sound like field recordings from some daemonic lair deep in the abyss – and this, as well as the attitude, occasionally has me fantasising that I’m listening to a Fugazi bootleg from a parallel universe, especially when Dirk Serries’ barbed wire guitar mangling strafes out into the rugged mire. He has some great moments on the Kodian Trio record in particular, wrenching out some furious, muck-splattered chords from a morass of fuzz on V as the other two flail around, desperately trying to avoid being sucked into the swamp, before they lock together for a full-on grindcore pummelling. He’s in slightly more restrained form on VIII, almost jazzy at times, essaying forth with some stuttering Bailey-meets-Grant-Green chops and cuts.
The various interlocking Venn diagrams of jazz-flavoured experimental underground musicks means that most of the personnel on these two discs have played, and recorded, with each other at least once in the past (this particular quartet can be heard in characteristically feisty form on the Live At Café Oto recording from Webster’s own Raw Tonk label). Webster’s at the centre of this mosaic, although whether this is due to an inspired nose for putting teams together or simply because I’ve kept an eye on him since his fruitful collaboration with avant-electro-turntablist Graham Dunning, I’m not sure.  Drummer Andrew Lisle has become one of Webster’s regular crew since Red Kite , a trio recording with Alex Ward, although the later Firehouse Tapes, in which Lisle and Webster go head-to-head in a furious duo jam is one I’d most recommend as an entry point (both are Raw Tonk releases and both are worth getting). Lisle is great at matching precision with force, and he is on hurricane-level form across these records, his kit-scrambling fusillades never quite blurring into indefinable noise even at their most explosive. He feels slightly groovier on the Kodian Trio album, especially on II, where his rollicking tom-rolls, rim shots and glints of cymbal bring forth images of a multi-limbed jazz cyborg. On the quartet record, meanwhile, he’s more ruthless, expunging grooves and replacing them either with all-out attack, pushing the other three forward in a primal rage of snare and cymbal, or a kind of alienated distance, holding up the action with disembodied thunks.  You get both Lisle moods on this record’s II (both albums favour Roman numerals for their track listing). At first, he’s content with a restrained patter, matching Serries’ spacey drone as the two saxes push out into looping moans and cries, one horn (possibly Webster) rasping around in the bass frequencies, buzzing with a kind of submerged rage as the other (probably Dikeman) explores a higher register, coiling around itself in a tangle of blowing. There’s plenty of tension, and the four keep it brewing for as long as they can before letting rip in all directions, filling every inch of space with a proper Jackson Pollock squall. That outburst plays itself out relatively quickly, leaving a silky, bible-black drift that’s almost post-rock in its abstractness, at first punctuated only by Lisle’s’ disjointed clatter and Serries’ fitful chord fuzz, although the squeaks and honks of the saxes ease back in whenever there’s a gap.  Merciless, dread-soaked builds are a key characteristic of Apparitions, the quartet managing to ratchet tension up to a point of unbearable cacophony with such skill that one wants them to defer the eventual release into whirlpools of sonic rubble almost indefinitely. Savouring the incipient sense of dread often trumps the euphoria of the release here, and tracks often move from a hazy, black-helicopters-on the horizon sense of eeriness through to a near-hysterical chorus of skronk and wails. Indeed, rather than bursting out in an EDM-style release, tracks often fall apart in a gristly mess, although it is deliberate demolition rather than unplanned collapse  – perhaps a cheeky reminder that the journey is often far more interesting than the destination. In any case, Apparitions and Kodian Trio are a couple more fine messes for these expert players to add to their CVs, essential documents for anyone interested in the emerging generation of far-out smashers and blowers.” We Need No Swords – UK

“The prosaically titled I is the debut outing by Serries, Webster (alto, baritone), and Lisle under the Kodian Trio name. Operating collectively as a quartet with Amsterdam-based Dikeman, the musicians recorded two albums in early 2015, a live set issued on Webster’s Raw Tonk Records and the newly released studio set Apparations. On I, five pieces are presented, each of which shows the three players experiencing little difficulty compensating for Dikeman’s absence. Though the material derives from a late-2015 studio session, a raw, live feel dominates, and the three confidently navigate their way through real-time improvisations scalding to the touch. Yes, blistering episodes surface—dissonant squeals from Dikeman, prickly shards from Serries, and volatile flourishes by Lisle—but so too do fleeting moments of calm as the trio brings a unified sensibility to the undertaking. With the exception of the surprisingly restrained fifteen-minute closer “III,” I catches the trio breathing communal fire: imagine forty-six minutes of bristling, molten improv and you’re in the right ballpark.” Textura – Canada

Gitarist Dirk Serries staat bekend om zijn ambient- en drone-muziek, zoals onder meer is te horen op de dit jaar uitgekomen albums met Chihei Hatakeyama (‘The Storm Of Silence’) en Rutger Zuydervelt (‘Buoyant Live’ ook op Tonefloat). Hij manifesteert zich steeds vaker als freejazz-gitarist en dat doet hij ook in het Kodian Trio. Hier geen klanklandschappen, maar vrije, avant-gardistische en meermaals ongrijpbare experimenteerdrift.
Colin Webster (saxofoon) en Andrew Lisle (drums) brachten als duo eind vorig jaar de cassette ‘Firehouse Tapes’ uit en hebben ook daarvoor met enige regelmaat samengewerkt. Hun ongepolijste en fantasievolle spel sluit perfect aan op de vrije spelopvatting die Serries op ‘I’ laat horen. Op deze plaat wordt op het scherpst van de snede gemusiceerd door drie volledig gelijkwaardige muzikanten.

“Serries, Webster en Lisle tonen zich zeer bedrijvig op ‘I’, waarop onrustig, compromisloos en met een vrij hoog abstractieniveau wordt gemusiceerd. In opener VIII blijkt direct dat ieder van de muzikanten de ruimte neemt om zijn eigen ding te doen, zonder dat men elkaar in de weg zit. Serries is met zijn vrije spel meermaals de meest op de voorgrond tredende muzikant, Lisle speelt aanvankelijk met brushes en stokkenmaar brengt ook prachtige wrijvende en schurende geluiden voort en Webster slingert en schokt daar tussendoor. Uiteindelijk vinden de muzikanten elkaar in een rustig einde.
Op het daaropvolgende V laat het trio zich van een veel grimmiger kant zien. Serries zorgt voor noise en feedback, Websters toon is bijtend en zijn voordracht uitermate driftig en Lisle ranselt met name zijn bekkens af. Lisle houdt een paar keer stil om vervolgens de muzikale razernij voort te zetten. De muzikale kopstoot van V wordt gevolgd door II, dat niet zo’n brute kracht kent maar langzaam intensiteit opbouwt, na vijf minuten plaatsmakend voor een rustiger, aftastender passage. II wordt beëindigd met uithalen op de baritonsax van Webster.
Zeer levendig en bij vlagen furieus is VII, dat soms alle kanten op stuitert maar waarin het drietal er toch in slaagt bij elkaar te blijven. Webster klinkt wat lichter door gebruik van zijn altsaxofoon. Erg spannend is de lange afsluiter III, met Webster weer op baritonsax, waarin tergend langzaam wordt toegewerkt naar een finale.
Kodian Trio biedt de luisteraar geen hapklare brokken muziek, maar levert met ‘I’ een ruwe, wringende en stompende plaat af die om veelvoudige beluistering vraagt alvorens het muzikaal gebodene volledig op waarde kan worden geschat. Hoeveel de muzikanten soms ook tegen elkaar in lijken te musiceren, steeds blijft – soms op onnavolgbare wijze – de  controle behouden. In de ontoegankelijke, bij tijd en wijle abstracte muziek ligt een flinke dosis inventivieit en subtiliteit verscholen van drie uitblinkende vrije impro-musici. ” Opduvel – The Netherlands

“Inspired by Sun Ra’s Saturn and the underground cassette scene, A New Wave Of Jazz is a new limited edition vinyl venture from the Rotterdam label Tonefloat. Guided by the hand of composer and guitarist Dirk Serries, the label focuses on the new wave of free jazz inspired music coming out of Belgium and the Netherlands, a scene which has drawn adventurous young players from the UK and Norway into its orbit. Serries, who first emerged as an electronic and isolationist ambient artist in the 1980s, has reinvented himself as one of the most interesting free guitarists around. As his background suggests, Serries has an interest in texture, favouring controlled feedback, shimmering metal slide tension and percussive zither-like techniques over wiggy virtuosity or noise-rock neck throttling. He appears on both of these new releases alongside the British duo of baritone saxophonist Colin Webster and drummer Andrew Lisles. On Apparitionsthe trio is joined by the excellent John Dikeman, an American tenor saxophonist based in Amsterdam.
Recorded the day after their riotous Live At Café Oto set (released last year on Webster’s own DIY label, Raw Tonk), Apparitions reflects its studio origins by taking a calmer approach to outer-limits exploration. While hardly an excursion into furrow-browed reductionism, it is notable for the subtlety of its execution, not least on the fourth side, where Serries takes several minutes to establish a soundscape of tempered feedback drones and loops of metallic twinkle and ping, before the horns gracefully enter with long, low tones and tonic cycles which gently unravel into freedom. Lisles, who at 27 is already one of the most original drummers in the UK, deepens the texture with muted detonations across the toms, before ramping up the tension with stumbling bass-snare-cymbal patterns and broomstick snare slaps which sound like the handclap sample on a DMX drum machine. While on the previous tracks the group gradually work themselves into a lean noise-jazz froth, the climax here is weirdly mangled, the individual parts crumbling before they can reach critical mass. This quartet subverts the listener’s expectations in a most compelling way.
On I the same players reconvene, minus Dikeman, for their debut as Kodiak Trio. While on Apparitions, Serries eschewed conventional right hand technique for metal bars and sticks, here he’s all finger, plectrum and palm, jabbing and thumbing the strings while his left hand makes truncated sliding motions and forms muted harmonics. Lisles busies himself with snare flurries, cymbal scrapes and dragged objects, while Webster, as the sole horn player, explores the physicality of his instrument, delicately rimming the mouthpiece with tongue and lips before breaking out a series of terse, high-register phrases in which his pinched tone becomes increasingly fiery and frayed. The second track opens with the sound of Serries revving his guitar into overdrive, as he engages Webster and Lisles in a fierce skirmish. These musicians are far too talented to simply go hell for leather or indulge in macho noise grandstanding. Instead, their noise-making has an intricacy and control while still sounding spontaneous and raw. Webster tends to avoid the obvious low end raunch of the baritone, using its sheer physicality to lend force to high register squalls and breath effects. His introduction of the alto sax halfway through the third side is an unexpected delight, as he embarks on a bright, Eastern European tinged solo over some of Lisles’s most energetic and inventive drumming. The long drones and deconstructed funk of the final side bring further evidence of this trio’s resourcefulness and imagination.” The Quietus – UK