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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 7, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

    12 Points Festival: Day 3 review

    Laurence Mackin

    The third night of 12 Points opened with some seriously peripheral jazz – the Isabel Sörling Group all the way from Gothenburg. They’ve yet to record an album, but this six piece are creating challenging, emotive music lead by the extraordinary vocal talents of Sörling.

    They open the set with a brilliantly rhythmic song, stalking a bass riff in large, heavy slaps while Sörling screams, loops and wrenches out sounds that are more animalistic than human. From there they take a turn for the abstract, and the music becomes much more loose and free, with horns wandering into spaces whose borders are loosely sketched by bass, drums and piano. Sometimes things are a little too loose, and the band appear to be chasing shadows; a little more substance and solidity in the set, as in the cracking opening track, would not go amiss.

    In introducing the Colin Vallon Trio, festival organiser Gerry Godley borrowed a phrase from traditional music – “the raw bar” – and it couldn’t be more apt. This traditional piano trio produce astonishing, intricate music that sounds fresh and inventive from the most typical set up in jazz.

    This band have been playing together for a decade, and it shows – the band sound is so unified and complete it’s difficult to imagine other instrumentation inhibiting on their melodic, austere compositions. Themes are developed in a sublimely organic fashion, with playing of the highest order. It’s a rare pleasure to listen to.

    And from the traditional we move to the inimitable – a Nordic trio of vocal, drums and tuba called PELbO. The tight Gretsch kit that has been playing its heart out all week is replaced by a big, boomy rock set; the bass amp looks like its been dismantled and hammered together again by BA Baracus; and the vocal mic first makes its way through all manner of loops, twists and turns to give this band a sounds that is as big as a cathedral.

    Drummer Trond Bersu wastes no time in ripping out huge, rolling rock beats, upon which Kristoffer Lo lays slabs of low-end tuba, turning the instrument into a vehicle for sometimes fuzzy low end that could knock a house sideways. Over this, Ine Krstine Hoem attacks her vocal with style and skill, harmonises and looping her own lines over themselves – it is virtuosic, aggressive and very rock and roll.

    But the question is unavoidable – is it jazz? No, it’s something better – really good music. So stick that in your tuba and blow it out your bass drum.

    Seconds out; final round. It’s time to finish this festival in style.

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