Bonobo’s Ark 2016
Krautrock meets Canterbury scene and dames in artful distress to bring about melodious havoc.
When this loose conglomerate of kindred spirits, including members of FAUST and HENRY COW, graced a Göteborg stage in 2015, it was one fine SNAFU – or, rather, chemistry of terror, how they put it in one of the pieces played that night. There’s not a lot of menace, though, save for wild incantations of “Jump for joy!” in the 11-minutes-plus “Borborismes Barbares” – slightly motorik, yet delightfully freeform. In other words, it’s weirdly engaging.
Ushered in with an initially unhurried dialogue between Chris Cutler and Zappi Diermaier’s drums on opener “Put Put Epidemik” that sets poetry in motion – most of the tracks on display are based on literary works and recited in several languages – the sextet’s approach to instant composition is both tempered by their classical leanings and liberated by tribal offerings of rhythms. Screams might be an integral part of the ensemble’s showcase but, once Yumi Hara’s piano and Jean-Hervé Péron’s bass create a sense of urgency, “Situation Normal” gets bathed in elastic chaos.
Elsewhere, mocking its own title, “Nie Wieder Avantgarde” embraces a sparse collage sound, an aural analogue of stained glass from behind the looking glass, as shards of various ideas create a new entity. Geoff Leigh’s flute adding folk delicateness to Geraldine Swayne’s spiritual organ to drive “Time” to the point of no return, there’s hardly a second spared for non-intense, even in deceptively relaxed instants, performance. Joyous, indeed!