Ensemble Nimbus — Scapegoat
(Record Heaven RHCD12, 19998/1998, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 1999-11-01
Ensemble Nimbus plays a sort of electric-acoustic chamber music. Percussionist Hasse Bruniusson of The Flower Kings and Sammla Mammas Manna is joined by Håkan Almkvist on guitar and other instruments, Lars Björk on clarinets, and Kirk Chilton on violin and viola. Almkvist is really the driving force here, as he is the only one with a hand in composing all eleven tracks (seven on his own, four in collaboration with various of the others). He’s a good writer – the tunes are inventive and full of interesting twists and harmonies. Only occasionally do they approach rock, like in the opening track, “Burning Arrows,” where halfway through, after a bouncy Middle Eastern flavored melody from the clarinet and viola, we suddenly get a distorted guitar feeding back. But the backing behind it is rather sparse drumming, and it’s topped by strange shouted words.
What they remind me of more than anything is a less aggressive Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, taking the developments of 20th Century composition and putting them in a (more or less) rock band context. The clarinet provides a different sound to the group, where a saxophone would be more expected. Studio effects like taped voices and found sounds spice up the arrangements. Nimbus is really doing something different, giving us a unique combination of modern classical, rock and electronics. While the playing is not generally flashy, the musicians work together to form a quite satisfying, well, ensemble.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more