Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit – Erta Ale ★★★★


PNL Records PNL025
Paal Nilssen-Love (d, perc), Thomas Johansson (c, flhn), Mats Äleklint (tb), Kasper Værnes (ss, as), Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (as, bs), Børre Mølstad (tba), Ketil Gutvik (g), Lasse Marhaug (turntable, electronics), Jon Rune Strøm (b, el b), Christian Meaas Svendsen (b, el b) and Andreas Wildhagen (d, perc). Rec. 30 January-4 February and 7 June 2014
Sluice your magma chambers – because Paal Nilssen-Love’s 11-piece band hasn’t just named their formidable box set after an eternally-active Ethiopian volcano, they’ve harnessed the lava bombs and sent them vaulting over the ozone. The drummer’s formative experiences with Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet and Frode Gjerstad’s Circulasione Totale Orchestra undeniably impact on the full-blast ratio; mobocracies of molten chaos blossom into welters of hellish cat-calls as jive rifts sling salvos of supremely low-slung swing.

Ataxias of semi-composed sax scramble are jettisoned by Lasse Marhaug’s coruscating coordinates, the electronics saboteur dishing clean slates, allowing the collective to devolve into constituent parts, a chain of improvisatory workshops preventing Erta Ale from becoming just another extended white knuckle ride. On the title-track the group broker a suite of diverging tectonics in the aisles of a pachinko parlour before detonating another plum in the guise of a wheezy carp. Nilssen-Love says this is just the beginning. Expect more thunder, more pyros and bucketfuls of BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Spencer Grady

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