Kari Ikonen


Kari Ikonen


 Tracks one to five on this taut recording become increasingly longer, from the 37 second Toccatina to  Biangular and Sacrement, both breaking the four minute sound barrier.

 The brevity creates the impression of seamless transitions, but don’t be fooled: each track is an entity of its own, with an independent orbit.

 It happens that you are not gifted with the sense of an ending, for this quartet is ruthless when it decides to bring to a close what is an experimental filtering of sounds.

Like cutting a short story in mid-flow. Perhaps cutting is too serrated. Maybe editing. The experimenting which suffuses the early numbers, can be seen as a kind of foreplay, an illuminative prelude to this recording’s spine, Trinity, which comes in at almost a quarter of an hour.

 Rather than speculate on what Ikonostasis is, it makes more sense to understand the approach by Kari Ikonen, and how an introvert expansion – imagine amorphous cycles where emotional introspection and stylistic expansion are complimentary – is a fluid foundation for collaborators Ra-Kalam Bob Moses (drums), Mathias Eick (trumpet) and Louis Sclavis (bass clarinet) to do their thing. And they do it very well.

With Trinity, the delicate trumpet melodies and dreamy piano chords are sucked under by currents in slow motion: imagine a profusion of notes cantering like a mare against a head wind, and then suddenly set loose.

 This is music of the unexpected, a series of independent essences which have their own thermals and, occasionally, there is a coming together of harmony. The album’s gestation (recorded here and there, according to Ikonen) between June 2014 and October 2016, suggests an enforced hiatus.

Not so. Ikonen is a busy chap and his polymathic knowledge of contemporary music, including p-funk and the avant garde on this outing, gifts the listener a voyage from one landscape to another, such as the Persian delights of Catubada de Teheran.

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