Label: Microtone Records, 2019
Personnel - Kristoffer Vejslev: guitar; James McClure: trumpet; Luka Bencic: double bass; Love Ekenberg: drums
The music of Vulture Forest, a quartet whose members hail from Denmark, Sweden, Slovenia, and South Africa, evokes tranquil landscapes and describes them with a reliance on languid yet rich and beautiful textures. Their second album, Some Things Stay Broken, comprises seven compositions that will make you ascend to a pure contemplative state through polished instrumentation, both intentional and extemporaneous.
“A Journey” and “Stargazing” start the journey and each of them shares this same sense of spaciousness and meditative quietness where the instruments breathe unhurried lines with melancholy and steady brightness.
“Vayu” goes in this same direction, offering resplendent voice leading and guitar textures drowned in the minor mode while moans, squeaks, creaks, and cymbal work can be heard as an aesthetic complement. Long held trumpet notes and subdued bass help densifying its body without ever altering its course or mood. Conversely, “Simple As Can Be” embraces a more traditional song format, allowing us to actually feel the chord passages due to a more demarcated bass comping. The melody is ravishing, sometimes recalling Enrico Rava’s balladry, and the improvisations shape as the personal statements we are most often used to hear in jazz. This album’s closing song is emotionally charged.
Speaking of improvisation, a fully improvised piece, “Impro #5”, was included in the song alignment. Prolonged bowed bass, irregular scratchy and clanky percussive noises, trumpet consistency in delivering notes of average duration, and guitar in-development paths are all assembled in the spur of the moment. Even if deceptive mirroring effects are sometimes created between trumpet and guitar, their independence concedes an ampler vision of the surrounding. As if spaces and textures could be felt from different angles.
The title track opposes to “Dance of the Planets” in the way that the latter piece is propelled by unremitting reverberating drum chops with a dragging tempo and a slightly sinister vibe. The former, instead, brittle yet tuneful, soars in its own minimalism, surrounded by nostalgic and dreamy tones.
Vulture Forest’s lyrical language and smooth soundscapes are obsessively inner-directed, generating a relaxing introspective spell. In order to absorb the maximum of what this recording has to offer, you got to disconnect from the bustle of the world. The experience can be more energizing than you think.
03 - Dance of the Planets ► 05 - Vayu ► 07 - Simple As Can Be