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WOO — Hoo-Ha
(Circum-Disc CIDI2402, 2024, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-06-13

Hoo-Ha Cover art

One might be inclined to run away with ears covered, hoping to never hear such cacophony again, but this is the world of free improv and extended techniques, where a close listen can be revelatory and patience rewards, but there are no guarantees. Along my way to prep for this review I’ve probably played Hoo-Ha around six times, maybe more, and though I’ve never really completely warmed up to it, I have reached a level of interest and understanding for what this improvising trio is up to. The odd band name, WOO is short for the surnames of each of the three individuals at hand: Christine Wodrascka on piano, Peter Orins on drums and percussion, and Paulina Owczarek on alto saxophone — the latter two met as members of Satoko Fujii’s Orchestra Berlin, and have been playing together as a duo previously. Wodrascka met Orins in the Franco-American ensemble Sangliers, along with Didier Lasserre, Dave Rempis, and Keefe Jackson. With a taste for adventure and instability, the trio takes the listener on a wild and crazy ride of chaos and dangerous escapades, especially on the 35-minute opening track “Why Not?” which is something of an endurance test right out of the gate; with the trio producing all kinds of improvised sounds, recorded live at a concert in Poitiers (France) in December 2023, along with the second, much shorter piece, “Spacer W Angielskim Ogrodzie,” which tends to quietly float by unnoticed. Only the title track, the last of the three, was recorded in studio around the same time as the live event. All taken, this is a powerful exercise in free-wheeling improvisation and experimentation that can go anywhere at anytime, custom made for the intrepid listener.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Orins, Paulina Owczarek, WOO

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