Monday, August 27, 2012

Jakob Bro: Bro/Knak

Jakob Bro (guitar, piano)
Thomas Knak (electronics)
Bro/Knak (Loveland; 2012)

Jakob Bro has matured since his first release, Daydreamer (2003). His material has spanned contemporary jazz, ensemble, quartet, trio and now an epic and audacious piece in collaboration with Thomas Knak entitled simply, Bro/Knak. And this is a sweeping work over two discs that deserves a lot of your attention.

"Colour Sample" while broad in scope shows the considerable growth Bro has achieved in just the short span of the last two years. With minimal use of electronic manipulation of vocals and the contributions of follow musicians, Wheller, Kulberg, Rehling and Hoyer, Jakob Bro creates a piece that lies somewhere between the new classical world of Stephen Micus and acoustic ambiance of Terje Rypdal or David Sylvian. It's a soothing and expansive work with multiple textures to marvel while listening.

"Izu" has an epic American film quality to it. The brushes by Hoyer and Bro's guitar and echoing vocals provide the long journey cross country in search of something new. Only fitting that the next piece featuring Bro with one of his mentors, Bill Frisell in a performance that highlights both the ambient other-worldly essence of Bro and American folk of Frisell. A luscious and elegant stroll through harmony and rhythm. 

The second disc turns this acoustic outing into a mystic electronic soundscape. "Roots Rebuild" utilizes the soft textures of Paul Bleys original from the first disc with almost Orb-like esthetics by Knak. A complete flip that is almost unrecognizable but original and astounding.

"G Minor Rebuild" also circles around the piano. This time done by David Virelles. It feels like Harold Budd blended through the ambient work of Aphex Twin. "Colour Sample Rebuild"  and "Northern Blues Variation" retain the somber elements of the originals but almost creates it's own imagery that is ghostly and spiritual.

Bro/Knak is a complete divergence from what Jakob Bro has done before that this will be a beautiful shock to the system to most people who have been a fan of his material already. But this is a diversion that is beyond worth taking. Bro/Knak displays a musician and composer who is really pushing ideas forward with a clear sense of deconstruction. Highly Recommended.

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