Anemochore is a Swiss quartet composed by Frantz Loriot (viola), Sebastian Strinning (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Daniel Studer (bass) and Benjamin Brodbeck (drums). A sempiternal cluelessness forced this reviewer to Google the meaning of the group’s name, namely a plant whose seeds or fruits are subject to dispersion by the wind. A somewhat poetic abstraction lying at the basis of a music with a high coefficient of frictional concreteness, notwithstanding a not infrequent rarefaction.
In the early 2000s Creative Sources was among the very first imprints to diffuse and promote this brand of interplay, involving ensembles removing all categories of egocentrism to accommodate the spontaneous generation of unorthodox sonorities. In this regard, we found out-and-out perfection here. The instrumental voices remain distinct, but none of them prevail. The contrapuntal development obeys to natural laws of expansion and contraction, taking the listener on a walk through scenarios where utter surprise and a measure of been-there-done-that-ness coexist without particular complications. Typical of this sonic sector, the boundary separating quietness from noise is practically nonexistent; the performers, deprived of stylistic passports, tour across disparate areas of impromptu creation. Percussive fragmentation, meditative breathing, complete detachment from a regular harmonic hypothesis, moderate-free-jazz-to-onkyo versatility. More or less, all one expects from such an album.
Does it make sense to crystallize this kind of material on disc nowadays, over twenty years after the genre’s initial waves? In theory, everything has already been assumed, recorded and talked about. In practice, even when a scarcity of originality looms there’s always something new to learn. That “something” largely depends on commitment and honesty, proven presences in this circumstance. Anemochore draw their lifeblood from timbral interstices and arrhythmic labyrinths, still managing to conjure up gripping snippets from an apparent lack of authentic innovation. To stretch the concept, by letting the action flow carelessly someone might think of a complex, pleasantly predictable variant of “furniture music”. On the contrary, plunging into these waters with a mind delivered from prejudice allows the inspection of crucial details and junctions that yield a considerable degree of aural contentment.
No need to suggest what listening method should be chosen.