In and Out of Focus 2019
FOCUS bassist concentrates on compositional aspect of things to locate most charged areas of his artistry.
As a conservatory graduate, Udo Pannekeet harbored the ambition of shaping an epic piece for a long time, yet he didn’t feel there were adequate means to express all the subtleties such a tune should comprise. It was bound to burst into the world at a certain point, though, dominating the Dutch musician’s sophomore solo album, while providing space for shorter numbers that contrast and complement its scope. Fusion might be the name of the game here, but there’s so much more to Pannekeet’s method which many friends helped him realize, and multiple stylistic strands Udo used create vertiginous, beyond-jazz experience.
It’s all in that long number. The 24-minute “Electric Regions Part One” is possessed with a seeming abstractness until effervescent ebb and flow of synthesizers that support Pannekeet’s supple bass accumulate enough momentum to perform a quantum leap to melodic paradise where the deceptively tentative beats take a rock band and brass section to the dance floor for the nicely punctuated swing to slowly reveal lots of loose wonders. The drift will go from motion to motion as Udo’s licks change their tone, force, mood and color, without losing sight of harmonic pleasures which contain enough orchestral bliss, guitar blues and dynamic drama to score an entire movie and touch upon tribal jive and baroque discipline within a single, constantly shifting, groove-driven context.
Less cinematic, yet explosive, “Integration Yes” must pour anxiety and melancholy into the listener’s ear thanks to its core trio setting on a piano-laden path and letting additional instruments spice it up before “Little Nura” strips it all away and leaves Pannekeet’s four strings at the romantic front. Unlike its predecessor, “The Antibes Situation” – harking back to Udo’s stint with Richard Hallebeek – rolls an unrelenting rhythm towards a shallow kind of funk, but the ivories-spiked “Cocon Cocon” is much deeper, weaving together a blistering array of notes that form a small adventure with variyng speed and satisfying finale.
The title track’s second part isn’t here, however, which means the Dutchman’s follow-up opus is around the corner, and it has to be just as impressive.