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Way Below the Surface by Poolplayers

Unlike the mainstream brand of jazz or even pop music, its largely unclassifiable outings like this 2008 release that prod or perhaps interrogate one’s psyche. Executed by four noted improvisers, the program is framed on shifting metrics amid a wide-open soundstage. And it’s all enhanced by the stunning Super Audio CD engineering processes.

Pianist Benoit Delbecq frequently acts as the director of festivities via his often-transcendent piano phrasings in concurrence with his band-mates’ layered methodologies. At times you could hear a pin drop yet it’s not all about solstice and quietude. Enamored by the superior sonic characteristics, you’ll hear percussionist and electronics ace Lars Juul’s snare drum catapult out of your stereo speakers. But on works such as "Two Fold," the quartet abides by a hustling and bustling mindset featuring the musicians manner of guessing each other’s subsequent move. Here is where we might consider an intense game of pool.

Within various movements, the band renders avant-garde soundscapes, intermittently shaded with ethereal overtones and trumpeter Arve Henriksen’s EFX altered vocals. In addition, these passages cast an eerie yet uncannily enduring set of musical vistas. Then with "Time Makes The Time," they dish out staggered and abstract jazz themes to complement a sequence of unwieldy propositions and daintily generated sounds.

Abetted by Steve Arguelles use of delays and filters, the instrumentalists often toggle between fractured minimalism and a nouveau mode of free jazz. However, it’s most assuredly a group-centric effort. Ultimately, the quartet presents new and vivid connotations to most interpretations of escapism. And each subsequent listen discloses previously undetected subtleties and nuances. (A top pick, regardless of genre, for 2008.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Poolplayers
  • CD Title: Way Below the Surface
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Songlines
  • Musicians: Arve Henriksen (trumpet, vocals, electronics), Benoît Delbecq (piano, bass station), Lars Juul (drums, electronics) Steve Argüelles (Usine, delays, Sherman filter)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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