Thursday, December 22, 2011


Here divided into two Vimeo clips is a one hour performance filmed and edited by Vile Vortices Productions featuring Chaos of the Haunted Spire, a Belgian experimental free jazz duo comprising Andrew Claes (saxophone and processing) and Teun Verbruggen (drumkit and processing). The set took place on January 26, 2010 at the Make It Up Club, an avant garde improvised music and sound performance program run every Tuesday night at Bar Open in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Chaos of the Haunted Spire - live Pt1 from vile vortices on Vimeo.

There are similarities in the duo's high octane combination of jazz interplay and ambient EAI soundscapes with Fireroom, the trio of Lasse Marhaug, Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love, but there are caveats to this comparison.  Marhaug's electronics add tangential irritant/stimulant value to Vandermark and Nilssen-Love's sax and drums, the cross-fire producing occasional pearls of sonic intertextuality, but the music of Chaos of the Haunted Spire comes from a more organic and hypnagogic zone. Claes and Verbruggen play and then process the results with effects pedals and laptop programming, either singularly or in combination, producing densely interwoven layers of real time performance and analog/digital abstraction.

Chaos of the Haunted Spire - live Pt2 from vile vortices on Vimeo.

As with Miles Davis and Teo Macero's fusion experimentation in the early 1970s, virtuoso musicianship coalesces with samples, chirrupy electronics and cinematic temporal shifts.  Teun Verbruggen's stick work can free swing like Hamid Drake and charge headlong into boiling avant-funk like Christian Vander with his Koba├»en dander up. The employment of extended technique, by contrast, has all the delicacy of touch that Verbruggen brings as an accompanist for more restrained jazz composition in the Jef Neve Trio.  Claes's playing combines overblown runs with plaintive appeals like a cross between the monstrous plasticity of Toshinori Kondo's trumpet work in the Die Like A Dog quartet and a more strangled version of Courtney Pine's doom-laden sax laments on the Angel Heart soundtrack. The combination of all these elements make for a near hour of stimulating free jazz - complex, exciting and as haunting as the name suggests.

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