Reviews

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Jazzwise (UK), January 2018

There’s a lot to be said for this pan-European free-jazz quartet’s debut – not least the opportunity to hear veteran British drummer Paul Hession putting the boot in. Always a thrilling bullish improviser, he’s on slamming form here, with an unbridled energy that lifts the collective endeavour to dizzy heights. Yet, at the same time, there’s a vein of restraint and consideration for form running through the entire date. Rather than epic, extended blow-outs, Mole negotiate 10 short pieces – most of them round the three-minute mark – which wring a range of contrasting moods out of the quartet’s quite basic instrumentation.

As an exercise in exploring the possibilities of creative limitation, Mole is a big success.

Daniel Spicer

 

The Wire (UK), December 2017

The album opens with Kane’s tribute to Albert Ayler, the horns articulating a gospel theme in rousing polyphony which Hession conducts intersecting thunderstorms.

There’s more to Mole than 1960s free jazz, however, with the following tracks running the gamut from textual drones to jazz punk stomps.

 

Jazz World (US), April, 2018

Truthfully though, while that creation of reed split tones and scraping percussion could be on outtake from an LP by Ayler and fellow saxophonist Charles Tyler, “Shifting Boxes”, the subsequent track and others of the CD’s 10 tracks move at a moderate pace, driven by bass pulses and are enlivened by entwined reed strategies. Following track 2, the Mole-men alternate aviary saxophone gusts and visceral multiphonics plus rhythmic aggression with deceptively harmonized sequences that harmoniously stagger and swagger simultaneously. Kane, who also works in a trio with Matthew Bourne, uses his string finesse to drive the vibrations on “Nugget” and with drum pops of Hession, known for his cumulative work with Simon Fell and Mick Beck, helps turn “Not a Running Commentary” into an Aylerian march, replete with reed splutters. More generic to horn equity, a track such as “Fall In” is a finger snapper with the unbridled growls and gossolalia produced from Frost Fadnes’s baritone saxophone and de Bézenac’s tenor saxophone.

One shibboleth also exploded here is that academics, which the two are by track, can’t blow as freely and heartily as non-scholarly folk. Most notably, “Automatic Mat Mat”, the final track wraps many of the expressed sound currents into varicolored textures that meld double bass pops, horn overblowing, and percussion taps, rolls and bubbles that the piece relates as much to Blues tonality as dissonant textural elaboration.

Ken Waxman

 

Free Jazz Blog, May, 2018

The debut self-titled album of Mole was recorded in Leeds in January and November 2016 and feature ten concise and urgent pieces. The joyful fanfare of the opening piece, Kane’s “Albert” cements the Ayler-ian spirit, but Mole doesn’t dwell on this fiery energy. Frost Fadnes’ “Shifting Boxes“ and “ Winter Song” channels Mole’s bursts of energy into complex and tightly disciplined patterns. De Bézenac’s “Fall in” runs head-on into dance punk stomp. Kane’s sparse “Boiler Ballad” has a touching theme which is developed in Mole’s most peculiar way and Kane’s “Automatic Mat Mat” returns to the Ayler-ian mode, but this time borrows The Thing’s massive rhythmic attack. The pieces that are credited to all four musicians highlight Mole as an organic, tight unit. “Birdwatcher” suggests a melancholic, cinematic narrative and stresses the close  interplay of de Bézenac and Frost Fadnes. “Nugget” is a delicate and quiet exploration of pulses and dynamics and “Dur Duh” jumps nervously between shifting rhythmic patterns.

Eyal Hareuveni

 

salt peanuts (NO), December, 2017

Denne innspillingen, som er gjort i Chapel FM i Leeds, starter med «fanfaren» «Albert», som mer enn tydelig nok er tilegnet saksofonisten Albert Ayler. Deretter blir det mer frittgående musikk, hvor det innimellom går unna så det «svir i veggene». Men innimellom tar de det hele helt ned, som i balladen «Boiler Ballad», som gir et fint pusterom for oss som lyttere.

Alle fire musikerne er dyktige til å kommunisere, og de er alle mer enn bra improvisatører. De er hele veien «på hugget» og har en klar felles idé om hvor de vil musikalsk. I slike sammen henger er det ikke alltid at den frie improvisasjonen fungerer like godt som her. I slike frilynte bandsammensetninger er det umåtelig viktig at musikerne har en kjemi som er samstemmig, og ofte har vi møtt slike konstellasjoner, som har sett spennende ut på papiret, men som ikke har vært like spennende i konsert- eller platesituasjonen.

Men Mole har en felles idé, og et felles mål. De vil lage frittgående musikk med mening, noe jeg absolutt synes de har fått til med denne innspillingen. Hele veien låter det tøft og energisk, og etter at stillheten igjen har senket seg i rommet, tenker jeg at platen, i stedet for kun å hete «Mole», godt kunne ha hett «Tribute to Albert Ayler» eller noe slikt. For dette er Ayler-musikk anno dagens dato, med fire musikere som kan sin fritt improviserte musikk, og som leverer en flott og spennende innspilling.

Jan Granlie