SULT – Bark

Bug Incision

Tony Dryer: contrabass; Jacob Felix Heule: percussion; Guro Skumsnes Moe: contrabass; Håvard Skaset: acoustic guitar.

Seven tracks whose titles are all anagrams of the word “bark”. The press release admonishes us with the definition “sound-oriented improvisation”, which might emerge as a gently mystifying explanation for those – like yours truly – who think that EVERYTHING is sound. But the magnitude of the mass of heavy wood and thick strings involved is enough to tell you that we’re dealing with music with a preponderance of fundamentally rich percussive traits and sneering anti-melodies (mostly by the basses, curiously, as the guitar is employed more as a machine to tamper with), often verging on clattering of the aurally rewarding variety. Face it: there are lots of ensembles nowadays that explore this area, the place where rubbing the instrument’s body and letting objects bounce on a snare’s skin (just mentioning a couple of the thousands of events occurring throughout, huh?) run parallel to actual pitches, weak-to-piercing upper partials and intimidating droning, usually in some type of contrapuntal configuration. Sult exist since 2008, though, and it shows: their interplay – in spite of the timbral jaggedness – is solid, even precise, musical in the right spots and also in the “wrong” ones. The quartet is positively willing to let room for a listener to break through the secret corners of what gets conceived on the spot, which is basically the raison d’être behind the enjoyableness of the whole.

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