Akku Quintet — Aeon
(Morpheus MORPH013, 2017, CD / LP / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-01-10
There is definitely some serious magic going on here on Akku Quintet’s latest offering, Aeon, which is at once captivating, free-wheeling, and full of beautiful complex grooves. There is more than a little math going on within these savvy jazz-rock meanderings that twist in and out of labyrinthine structures, though that is no surprise given the level of their previous two releases Stages of Sleep (2013) and the more recent Molecules (2015), this latest effort recorded at the very end of 2016 fits rightly into that trajectory. The band is led by drummer Manuel Pasquinelli, who is also the drummer of Sonar, and who is credited with all of the compositions, and makes a formidable rhythm section with bassist Andi Schnellmann (also of Schnellertollermeier), creating the geometric patterns and complex grooves that the rest of the group plays freely within. Guitarist Markus Ischer injects the snarl and tangle into the sound, whilst newest member and saxophonist Michael Gilsenan adds the smooth and simmering melodic beauty beauty over the top of it, making the sound instantly warm and accessible. In between the two ends, keyboard player Maja Nydegger puts her stamp all over the sonic structure, adding to the melodic brilliance as well as coloring the rhythms. Take for example the opening 15-minute three-part title suite; starting with a wandering, lonely guitar figure, soon augmented with melodic piano and low level ambient bass elements, it gets going in the second section with the addition of punctution from drums and bass with beautiful but gentle sax lines hovering over the proceedings. After a few minutes we reach part three, where some very powerful and mysterious complexities are at work, Nydegger on piano playing in six with her left hand and in eight with the right hand, while bass and drums lay the groundwork with guitar and sax adding judicious amounts of color and space as the piece moves forward through numerous dynamic cycles to its ultimate conclusion. There’s a lot of masterful creativity and playing to hear within these measures. Even if the album ended after only this piece it would be well worth the price of admission, but there are still four more cuts going forward, all clocking in between ten and 20 minutes, and each equally amazing and enchanting in all respects. Akku Quintet’s latest is a beguiling and fascinating web of brilliant instrumental jazz-rock that deserves to be listened to, and heard well.
Related artist(s): Akku Quintet
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