Box - Studio 1
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Studio 1

Box is yet another improvisational face-melting jazz supergroup on the Rune Grammofon label, and features a cross-Atlantic selection of musicians who have played with a huge variety of different groups and artists in their day. The quartet is comprised of Raoul Björkenheim (Scorch Trio, among others) on guitars, Trevor Dunn (Fantomas, John Zorn's Electric Masada) on bass, Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Humcrush) on keyboards and electronics, and Morgan Ågren (Mats/Morgan Band and others) on drums. Like a lot of other smash-em-up releases on the label, the musicians involved here didn't rehears at all before meeting, and banged out what eventually became Studio 1 in only two days worth of recording.

Given all of the above players, it's really no surprise then that Box basically sounds like a nicely-concieved mash-up of various configurations of projects that the involved musicians have been a part of. "Untitled 9" (which is actually the first track) slams through over seventeen minutes of bloodied-nose free-jazz rock skronk that sounds like Scorch Trio with some of those familiar Storløkken analogue synth sounds on top. "Untitled 11" is more subdued, with mixed electronic and live drum sounds, while slinky bass and ringing waves of guitar ramble over the top for awhile.

Meanwhile, both "Untitled 7" and "Untitled 3" march along in a very Humcrush-esque manner, with frenetic android/live beats coupled with vigorous bass workouts and some occasional guitar interjections from Björkenheim. Because it's so different that a majority of the album, the doom-laden closer of "Untitled 12" is probably the standout on the release, as murky, distorted groans of low-end synths and a plodding rhythm eventually bleed into a swampy ending that's even thicker than the opening section. If you're a hardcore fan of the groups associated with players on this release (or other like-minded Rune Grammofon artists like Moha!), you'll probably find Studio 1 much to your liking. For me, it's just a bit on the already-ran side, with some outstanding moments that nonetheless aren't quite as compelling as the other releases by said artists.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2008-02-28 19:27:55