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Jazz - Released August 25, 2017 | Okeh

Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Jazz - Released August 25, 2017 | Okeh

Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Jazz - Released September 21, 2007 | ENJA RECORDS Matthias Winckelmann

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2016 | ECM

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Jazz - Released June 12, 2020 | Okeh

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Jazz - Released June 12, 2020 | Okeh

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Jazz - Released August 28, 2000 | ECM

This end-of-the-millennium quartet session probably best defines all the inherent contradictions in who ECM attracts to the label -- what kind of musician records for them -- and what concerns these artists and ECM's chief producer (and creator) Manfred Eicher hold in common. This set, although clearly fronted by Markus Stockhausen and Arild Andersen on brass and bass, respectively, allows space for the entire quartet to inform its direction. Héral and Rypdal are not musicians who can play with just anybody; their distinctive styles and strengths often go against the grain of contemporary European jazz and improvised music. Of the 11 compositions here, four are collectively written, with two each by Andersen and Stockhausen. "Flower of the Now" uses space and texture to create a harmonic architecture, skeletal though it may be. Stockhausen states a theme that acts as the syntax for the painterly drumming of Héral and Rypdal's interlocution between all the drifting parties. "Sway" begins with Héral's trans-African drumming, followed by the fury of Rypdal's own brand of guitar improvisation. He edges through musical frameworks of the past in rock, blues, and jazz, cutting them down in the process of playing knotty arpeggios and deconstructed riffs that rely on harmonic rather than lyrical language. When Stockhausen moves into the fray, it's sparingly in stark contrast to Rypdal's splatter and roll methodology and brings things to a near halt, with only Andersen to slip a groove through the band's abstractions. This is a record of "sonics," an area not unlike the forbidden "Zone" filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky's hero, who guides people through in the film Stalker -- forbidden, wasted, and beautifully desolate. When listeners reach the place in "Auma" where Andersen's bass employs electronic devices to give it an "orchestra" or chamber section quality, they can hear how attentive this crew really is to one another. They move about slowly and purposefully in the musical spheres where sound, language, and harmonic monoliths all give way into something less definite, less shapely or contoured in favor of the unspeakable, the unmentionable, the inarticulate speech of the heart as it enters, through sound's language: one of tension, dynamic, nuance, and texture, the various places where spoken language fails so miserably. In all, Karta is an effort that showcases the very best of its collective: It contains aesthetic grace and elegance as well as great violence and chaos. For all the recordings in "popular" music made at the end of the century, this is the one that sums up best where Western music has traveled these last hundred years, and points to just how far it yet needs to journey in the next thousand. Karta is soulful, tender, and frightening. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 29, 2018 | Okeh

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Jazz - Released February 1, 1989 | ECM

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Jazz - Released February 15, 1996 | ACT Music

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Jazz - Released December 11, 2004 | Aktivraum

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Jazz - Released May 23, 2008 | Aktivraum

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Jazz - Released September 15, 2017 | Unit Records

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Jazz - Released August 12, 2016 | 7Jazz

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Jazz - Released April 1, 2016 | ECM

Jazz - Released June 15, 2018 | Okeh

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 19, 2015 | Resiliens Recordings

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Jazz - Released May 1, 1990 | ECM

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Jazz - Released March 29, 2013 | Intuition