FILIP AUGUSTSON/MINSTA GEMENSAMMA NÄMNARE
Filip Augustson – “Minsta Gemensamma Namnaren”
This is the second album by Swedish bassist / composer Filip Augustson, recorded with his trio, which also includes violinist Eva Lindal and drummer Christopher Cantillo and which was released again on the excellent Swedish label Found You Recordings. It presents eight original compositions, all by Augustson.
The intimate acoustic trio setting and unusual instrumentation sets this album immediately apart from most other Jazz / Improvised Music releases. Stylistically it belongs to the chamber Jazz sub-genre, due to a/m characteristics but also due to its apparent likeness to contemporary European Classical music of course. Augustson’s compositions are challenging collages of melodic fragments, shifting tempi and minimalistic symbolism, bringing on instant associations with pieces of mixed media visual art. The whole aesthetics of his music and the way the trio interprets it, has a deeply rooted European approach to Art in general and music in particular, where conventions and traditions are mainly there in order to be broken. Augustson’s “nerdiness”, which he refers to half jokingly / half seriously in his comments about this album, is obviously a phantom quality of his character, as anybody writing and playing music like this is anything but nerdy.
The trio’s treatment of this music is absolutely stunning, not only because all three musicians are obviously highly talented, but mostly because they become one body while playing the music. Their individual responsibilities, i.e. the melody lines stated by the violin, the harmonic and the rhythmic layer of the bass that cements the music together and the exquisite percussive ornamentations that drive the music forward are all amalgamated into a spiritual unity, which carries the musical message.
The melodic minimalism of this music, which is particularly fascinating, is significantly different from what Jazz listeners refer to as the “Scandinavian sound”. This music has nothing to do with the lamenting lyricism of the a/m style and proposes a new and fresh avenue to be explored by Scandinavian musicians, who are less interested in achieving instant fame. This new approach allows for infinite more degrees of freedom to be incorporated into the music on one hand and the introduction of a much more complex rhythmic or even poly-rhythmic substance, including fascinating odd signatures and Ethnic rhythmic influences, all of which can be found on this album.
Suma summarum this is a fascinating, deeply moving piece of music, which keeps surprising the listener even after repeated listening sessions, completely unique and unconventional in the best possible meaning of the word. It is heartwarming to hear that young musicians are still exploring the boundaries of our beloved music, and that’s to their open-mindedness and talent our dying Culture is still giving the entropy a fight. Hats off!
– Adam Baruch – The Soundtrack Of My Life