(Another Timbre)

Swedish Magnus Granberg — one of the most frequently sung names in Another Timbre’s roster — grew a listener-friendly compositional style following his continuous dissatisfaction with free jazz and improvisation. Supposedly, he realized how the inherent codification of unwritten rules within the scope of a bogus freedom inevitably leads to an unsolvable creative sterility. To overcome the inconvenience, Granberg broadened his sonic sphere through the use of fairly open settings, combining individual choices by the players with scored sections inside predefined frameworks. Admittedly, it’s not the discovery of hot water. However, resorting to a copious dose of sensitivity — from composers and performers alike — is mandatory for achieving noteworthy results in such contexts.

Let Pass My Weary Guiltless Ghost expands the line-up of Skogen (the leader plus Anna Lindal, Petter Wastberg, Leo Svensson Sander, Henrik Olsson, Erik Carlsson) with guest musicians Toshimaru Nakamura, Rhodri Davies, Ko Ishikawa and Simon Allen. The more variegated palette still warrants a comfortable perception of the acoustic gradations. Obstreperous feedback, piercing interference, subsurface tremors or unexpected thuds appear as perfectly natural occurrences along a slow-paced, involuntarily oriental, imperturbable contrapuntal serenity. The general sense of peace is embodied by single piano notes, deliberate movements of strings and reeds, unpredictable electronic ejections. There can be a lot of space between the pitches, even when they’re adjacent. In a way, this symbolizes a philosophy of calm expression shared by all participants, which does not admit wasting energy and speaking aloud (notwithstanding a degree of occasional disruption).

For some reason, brief segments of this piece called early Gavin Bryars to mind, although the conditions and the instrumentation set by Granberg are definitely not comparable to those of, say, Hommages. Ultimately, we witness a finely tuned democracy where both the imaginary choreography of the gesture that generates the sound and its vibrational outcome are valued. One easily understands why this music, full of infinitesimal openings to the light, is so well received and strongly supported. It is the representation of a functional universe that keeps welcoming the justifiable imperfections of unpolluted mankind.