Immortal Onion, XD [Experience Design]

Peeling off the layers, an obvious metaphorical conceit to begin, presented with a band who call themselves slightly preposterously ''Immortal Onion.'' There is nothing however remotely preposterous about what this...

Published: 19 Mar 2020. Updated: 11 days.

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Peeling off the layers, an obvious metaphorical conceit to begin, presented with a band who call themselves slightly preposterously ''Immortal Onion.''

There is nothing however remotely preposterous about what this Gdańsk trio do. They boast a scarily accomplished pianist in Tomir Śpiołek who has a Chris Illingworth way about him but as they themselves present themselves the Onions look more to prog, whatever that means in jazz any more. And no it is not a swear word. Bass guitarist Ziemowit Klimek takes a lovely solo on 'Triggers' which is even more GoGo Penguin-like than the opener.

The trio like their building blocks: tumbling piano lines, hyper bass or spotlight solo breaks, drum 'n' bass-like patterns of the highly athletic Wojtek Warmijak and these blocks have been used to construct many small jazz units in recent years.

What they add is a lovely bittersweet tinge you get in Szymanowski sometimes. For this aspect go to 'Omnichannel Journeys Part I' and find that scything bass, pitch bending on top of the very pretty vamp that Śpiołek has set up. 'Significance' begins as a duet between piano and arco acoustic bass this time, the bass, more like cello, like Bach, and this is where the band find their own space most and you won't hear this on any of the bands you may think that Immortal Onion sound like. 'Omnichannel Journeys Part II' the eager unidentical twin of the earlier piece is more stop and start, more prog and has a lot more noisy interplay between all three players. Listen to both tracks and you can see quite quickly how they can move into radically different areas that again announce how special they are.

To sum up this is jazz that doesn't swing in any conventional sense or at all. But that does not matter. Immportal Onion also bypass atonality and the free-improvisational ethic but still harness an improvisational leaning and certainly utilise a syncopated dexterity. Instead they like to sweat the small details. 'Interaction' I'd skip however it's more like a minimalist déjà vu. But wait. The bassist does something different in the bridge and again discombobulates your heard-it-all before feeling. 'Intensity' is the most futuristic and opens in a blaze of mystery and then there is the Kraftwerk-esque 'IA (Information Architecture)' at the end. In a word? Pick your favourite superlative and enter it here, ------, dear reader, ''superb'' is a suggestion. SG

Out now on vinyl, CD and download. Via immortalonion.com.

Tags: 2020 best so far albums / tracksAlbum reviews