LENE GRENAGER – Affinis Suite


Norwegian cellist, composer and improviser Grenager’s relation with Affinis (the ensemble that gives its name to the opus, of course) is a solid one at over 12 years of collaboration; this familiarity is the reason behind the vivacious fluidity that blesses the listening experience. We’re treated with different categories of sonic construction, typically informed by conglomerations of notated scores and freer interpretations of certain issues. The musicians (Grenager does not participate as instrumentalist) sound compactly pungent, drifting across acoustic protuberances and exudations with tangible enthusiasm and elastic technical efficiency. The alternance of collective activity and solo pieces (one for oboe, the other for bass clarinet) is an intelligent move; the Zappa/Henry Cow scent that is instantly perceptible in the opening “Attitude” is balanced by the inherent conflicts of the subsequent tracks, the program ending with the organized mayhem of “Effect Without Cause”. There’s a strong sense of perseverance fused with a combination of fun and difficulty that suffocates any tendency to constrained classicism. In stark contrast with the diluted nonsense that many celebrated entities throw at us on a daily basis, Affinis Suite is an album whose blunt honesty is admirable.

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