There's a certain sort of cracks of late between which some interesting music has been falling, the cracks perhaps being AMM and Christian Wolff, which indeed are no cracks at all as the latter was at one time a member of the former but nevertheless a new stripe in the vagaries of minimalist composition and improvisation, something we might (or might not) choose to call "chamber EAI," seems to have emerged (or been emerging). Such recordings as Varianter av Døde Trær (by the quartet of Tetuzi Akiyama, Martin Taxt. Eivind Lønning and Espen Reinertsen) and In Search of Wild Tulips (by Akiyama, Eric Carlsson, Toshimaru Nakamura and Henrik Olsson) come to mind, as well as the work of Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir as efforts that suggest a greater structural integrity, more forethought perhaps, than pure improvisation.
Such is certainly the case with Rows, an album of short compositions by Anders Dahl performed with composer Magnus Granberg's largely acoustic septet Skogen, which includes Nakamura and Olsson as members. The nine pieces here (ranging from two to eight minutes) are strict 12 tone row compositions following Schoenberg's notion of not repeating a note in the scale until all have been played although register and duration aren't specified in the score. As a result, a sort of unity of purpose is discernible in the playing at the same time as an inviting feeling of spontaneity.
In practice this isn't wildly different from the work of Wolff, Cage, Cardew or others, and Dahl may not be claiming to have conquered new worlds. But the playing here is quite lovely. The ensemble (two violins, sho, clarinet, piano, bowls and glasses, and two electronicists, with Carlsson's percussion added on two tracks) is warm and airy and, under Dahl's cues, imminently listenable.
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