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Jordan Dykstra & Koen Nutters - In Better Shape Than You Found Me [Elsewhere Music - 2021]

In Better Shape Than You Found Me is an hour-long journey into mysterious, at points meditative, at others jarring modern composition utilizing piano, viola, pitch pipe, crotales, electronic programming & subtle field recording elements. It’s a lulling eventful release, that offers compositional surprise, atmosphere and rewarding flow.

The release appears as a CD on Elsewhere music- it’s presented in the labels house style mini card gatefold. This features a blue and black square-shaped design, with pictures of a half-lit distant landscape with a difficult to define hill in its middle. Not sure how many of these were pressed, but I’d imagine it’s a fairly ltd pressing- so I’d advise if this sounds of interest, drop by here to hear samples & purchase direct.

The two players/ composers here are Brooklyn-based Jordan Dykstra, whose been actively creating chamber and film music since the early 2010s, as well as working as an arranger violist, and improviser. And Netherlands based Koen Nutters- who is a Bassist and composer. He’s also a founding member of the now-defunct N-Collective, releasing both solo material and work with projects such as The Pitch, Ensemble Konzert Minimal and The New Silence. 

The single self-titled track comes in at spot on the hour mark, and it’s a fairly driftingly episodic affair. We begin with what sounds like broodingly bubbling water field recordings and spaced out crotales strikes- this creates a rather lulling, meditative, through slightly eerier sonic space. As we move on we find stark piano key darts, bleak and barren string simmers, rises of pitch pipe tone, minimal electro-ambient texturing/ drift, and of course more subtle field record elements- be it air vent like purr, water tone bubble, and distant traffic sounds. The piece remains eventful and rewarding throughout, with traces of sly and haunting melody drifting in from time to time.

In finishing, I very much enjoyed the lulling sonic trip messrs Dykstra and Nutters take us on here. If I was looking for comparisons, I’d say someone like NYC minimalist composer Kenneth Kirschner, though with maybe more mediative and simmering string tendencies. 

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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