Clean Feed

Clean Feed is worldwide known as a preeminent jazz imprint, but its openness to different amalgamations of influences and genres is their actual winning card. By taking this album as an example, the justification will be easily found. Bassist Niggenkemper put together a mix of clever musicians to achieve an unusual aim, that of giving trash an acoustic personality (follow the above link and see the project’s conceptual origin). It could be argued that so much trash already has a potent voice in today’s music world that there’s no need for more. All in all, the concept is intriguingly amusing. And when coherent interpretations by discriminating instrumentalists turn a potential dud into excellent material, we can only rejoice.

The variety of rubbish presented by the ensemble (just kidding, Pascal!) is encouragingly consistent. We’re shown a multitude of environments where the listener can be impressed by a strong textural “presence”, either under the shape of raucous droning à la David Jackman (“Great Pacific Garbage Patch”) or quasi-Stravinskian structures informed by a degree of quick-witted irony, as in the title track. Looking elsewhere, one can simply get lost within slow tides of adjacent upper partials – as in “Plastisphere” – or marvel at the quiet contrapuntal distinctness of “Crochet Coral Reef”, initially defined by post-Wandelweiser aromas suddenly originating dissonant clashes all over the place. The group successfully attempts incursions in diverse ambits – ill-tempered free jazz to contemporary chamber – without an ounce of ridiculousness; the sensations conveyed tend to a substantial rationalism enhanced by modest, if occasionally impetuous virtuosity.

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