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(43:34; 7 D Media)
Akku Quintet are back with their fourth studio album, the first since signing to Trey Gunn’s 7D Media label, and with the same line-up as 2017’s ‘Aeon’, namely Michael Gilsenan (sax), Maja Nydegger (keyboards), Markus Ischer (guitar), Andi Schnellmann (bass) and Manuel Pasquinelli (drums). Says composer and founder Pasquinelli, “We have chosen ‘Depart’ as the album title because it describes very good the general feeling/spirit of the album. I’d say compared to our previous albums, ‘Depart’ is more driving and expressive. I think one can hear a forward-moving undertone on all the tracks. The title track ‘Depart’ comes along in a courageous and at the same time doubting and mysterious mood, performed with lots of playfulness. ‘Depart’ was the best word to describe the mood of this track and the album in general.” Pasquinelli is of course widely known for his work with Swiss post-rock minimalist outfit, Sonar, and this group has a similar approach yet is very different indeed. This is minimalist, full of space and layers, complex and at times with musicians moving in very different directions indeed. It isn’t unusual for the drums to be absent altogether which provides another aspect to the sound. It is an album that demands and deserves to be played on high quality headphones as it is only then that one can be removed from the world and gain all the nuances and subtleties at play. At times a very hard album to play as it challenges the listener, but there are times when it seems very easy indeed. Distortion can be used as an effect here, repeated piano motifs there, and there are times when one feels that one is being dragged in a certain direction by a force of nature. Relentless, almost tiring at times, this is an album which needs to be respected but is a delight to discover as well.
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