The feverish freebop of 'Boogie' from Norwegian drummer Gard Nilssen and his piano-less band Acoustic Unity introduced Elastic Wave ahead of today's release. To an extent it was an outlier given how much extroverted energy there is on it. However, it does not stick out like a sore thumb and you will find other tracks that match such a sense of momentum. But elsewhere the album is far more brooding and veers between freebop Ornettian flavours say on 'Influx Delight' in the opening theme and more introspective quasi chamber-music passages often when clarinet is involved.
Acoustic Unity have been around quite a while and this is their fourth album. 'Lokket til Jon, og skjerfet Paul' (Norwegian for ''Jon's cymbal, Paul's scarf'') is a poised homage to the Jarrett Belonging Band's Jon Christensen (1943-2020) and the Bill Evans trio Sunday at the Village Vanguard eminence Paul Motian (1931-2011).
The pieces are concise even when a lot of intricate structures and room for adventure are factored in, none are even 5 minutes long. Acoustic Unity is comprised of Nilssen, who is sometimes but not always Motian-like (but when so the Norwegian is at his most obviously convincing) reedist André Roligheten, heard on 'Boogie' in a John Surman-like vision on that track, and the Django Bates Belovèd classic Study of Touch double bassist Petter Eldh supreme on the recent Vermillion. The stimulating multi-tracked reeds line harmonised on 'The Other Village' on this studio album recorded in France is rousing achieved by its wild folk-like gracenote colouring in the track's unaccompanied opening statement. An album overall far easier to admire - and yet there is a lot in that regard - than to love. Stephen Graham