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Thomas Strønen & Time Is A Blind Guide — Lucus (January 19, 2018)

Thomas Strønen & Time Is A Blind Guide — Lucus (Jan. 19, 2018)

Thomas Strønen & Time Is A Blind Guide — Lucus (Jan. 19, 2018)Thomas Strønen & Time Is A Blind Guide — Lucus (Jan. 19, 2018)•ψψ•     A prolific Norwegian drummer, composer, improviser, and bandleader who has worked with dozens of major European musicians and led many dates.
Born: October 7, 1992 in Oslo, Norway
Location: Norway, Wakayama
Album release: January 19, 2018
Record Label: ECM
Duration:     52:57
Tracks:
01. La Bella     4:24
02. Friday     4:05
03. Release     5:46
04. Lucus     3:47
05. Fugitive Places     7:14
06. Baka     2:07
07. Wednesday     5:09
08. Tension     6:30
09. Truth Grows Gradually     4:28
10. Islay     4:01
11. Weekend     4:47
Personnel:
★•      Thomas Strønen: drums and percussion;
★•      Kit Downes: piano;
★•      Håkon Aase: violin;
★•      Ole Morten Vågan: double bass;
★•      Lucy Railton: cello;
★•      Siv Øyunn Kjenstad: percussion;
★•      Steinar Mossige: percussion
Credits:
★•      Håkon Aase Composer, Violin
★•      Stefano Amerio Engineer
★•      Woong Chul An Cover Photo
★•      Manfred Eicher Producer
★•      Sascha Kleis Design
★•      Lucy Railton Viloncello
★•      Thomas Strønen Composer, Drums
★•      Ayumi Tanaka Piano
★•      Ole Morten Vågan Composer, Double Bass
★•      Daniel Vass Photography
•ψψ•     Time Is A Blind Guide is both the title of Thomas Strønen’s album and the name of his new Norwegian~British ensemble. In contrast to Food and its electronic soundscapes, TIABG is an all~acoustic group which plays what its drummer~leader~composer calls “melodic music with a twist.” Its melodies unfurl sinuously over shifting rhythmic patterns. The band was built to include a number of overlapping musical sub~groups. “There is a kind of enhanced piano trio at the centre of Time Is A Blind Guide,” says Strønen. “And there is a string group with violin and cello and bass — over the years I’ve written lots of music for strings — as well as a drum ensemble with me and Siv Øyunn Kjenstad and Steinar Mossige…” The two percussionists often assert strong and solid grooves, allowing Strønen to play freely on top of the rhythms and to interact dynamically with the outstanding young English pianist Kit Downes, who makes his ECM debut here. Time Is A Blind Guide was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in July 2015.
About the album
•ψψ•     Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen presents a revised edition of his acoustic collective Time Is A Blind Guide, now trimmed to quintet size, and with a new pianist in Wakayama~born Ayumi Tanaka. Tanaka has spoken of seeking associative connections between Japan and Norway in her improvising, a tendency Strønen seems to be encouraging with his space~conscious writing for the ensemble, letting in more light. As on the group’s eponymously~titled and critically~lauded debut album there are excellent contributions from the string players — the quintet effectively contains both a string trio and a piano trio — and Manfred Eicher’s production brings out all the fine detail in the grain of the collective sound and the halo of its overtones, captured in the famously~responsive acoustic of Lugano’s Auditorio Stelio Molo in March 2017.
Project
•ψψ•     “Time” is a guiding principle in any drummer’s ensemble, not least when it is subtly subdivided or extended as it is in this debut by Thomas Strønen’s acoustic group. The name derives from a literary source, “Time is a blind guide” being the first sentence in Canadian author Anne Michaels’s 1996 novel Fugitive Pieces.
•ψψ•     The band ‘Time Is A Blind Guide’ was formed rather spontaneously, following an invitation from UK broadcaster Fiona Talkington, an early supporter of the Strønen/Iain Ballamy group ‘Food’, who commissioned Thomas to write music for a combination of Norwegian and British musicians for Conexions, a concert series she was curating at Oslo’s Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene. Thomas Strønen: “We were talking about different musicians and she put forward some names — one of them was [pianist] Kit Downes, a very good recommendation — and I put forward some names. Then I wrote music for the ensemble and put the band together for the concert. It went really well, and I realized right away that we couldn’t stop at this point. We needed to develop the music further, we needed to play more. I’d had no intention of starting a new band — at that point I was playing in loads of different groups — but the musical potential was so evident that we needed to pursue it. So I began to cut back on other activities, making ‘Time Is A Blind Guide’ a priority, so we could get the music really strong and solid.”
•ψψ•     The group played concerts over a two year period before going to the studio. The album Time Is A Blind Guide was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in July 2015, with Strønen and Sun Chung producing. The leader’s vision of a strongly melodic and energetic music underpinned by unorthodox time signatures and fluid rhythms is fully borne out. “I like that feeling of melodies so accessible you can sing them, yet it’s challenging to clap your hands or stamp your feet to the music.
•ψψ•     It’s melodic music with a twist.” Thomas Strønen’s wide ranging compositions here include a melancholic drum piece, “Everything Disappears II (Ode to JT)”, the dedication being to John Taylor, with whom Thomas worked in the trio Meadow, with Tore Brunborg. “I could as easily have dedicated everything to John,” Strønen says. “He was such an inspiring and positive musician to be around.”
•ψψ•     Time Is A Blind Guide is one of two ECM albums issued this season featuring the music of Thomas Strønen. The other is Food’s This Is Not A Miracle, which is released in November. Website: https://www.kitdownes.com/
Label: http://player.ecmrecords.com/stronen-2467
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Thomas Strønen & Time Is A Blind Guide — Lucus (January 19, 2018)

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