Dirk Serries & John Edwards - Melancholia [New Wave Of Jazz - 2022]
Melancholia is an improv release that shifts( at points) rapidly from starkly felt ‘n’ fraught, to the more manic and detailed. It features two respected euro Avant players- Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries- who also runs the New Wave Of Jazz label and is also behind respected/ inferential ambient project Vidna Obmana. And British double bassist John Edwards- who since the late ’90s has built up a large and respected body of work collaborating with the likes of Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Tony Levin, and many others.
The release appears as either a CD( which I’m reviewing) or a digital download. The CD comes presented in New Waves of Jazz’s house style grey box and white text mini gatefold- with a write up in the middle by Guy Peters. The CD pressing is ltd to just three hundred copies.Roger Batty
The album features two number tracks- with these each hitting between the twenty and twenty-four-minute mark. First up we have “I”- this opens with a nicely taut-yet-stark blend of sudden bass neck fumble, jugged and darting guitar strum & scuttle. As the track progresses the more manic side of proceedings comes to the fore- with rapidly bass shifts and bays, detailed and complex guitar saws and strums. As we move on the track dramatically shifts between the sparser and moodier, to the more busy and detailed- within both settings we find moments of compelling angularity, fraught emotionality, and even fleeting moments of the more playful/ quirky.
Next, we have “II” which is the longer of the two tracks- we move from the sudden busy 'n' jagged guitar motifs and lightly bounding to more buzzing bass tones of the start. Onto the tensioned & thickly droning low end meets fiddling and forking guitar tones, though to the rapid blends of strum, knock, and bass bow. We once again have more spaced/ paired back moments of sly guitar saw ‘n’ slides, and bass scab- but equally we have the more manic busy side of the coin too. With the track playing out with a wonderful searing and oddly grooving, throb, scab, and purr section.
Melancholia presents us with forty-five minutes of shifting, at points emotional improv- with both players wonderfully complementing each other nicely. To find out more about this release, and the rest of New Wave Of Jazz’s always interesting & creative catalogue drop by here.