Boomkat Product Review:
Jan Jelinek and legendary jazz percussionist Sven-Åke Johansson probe ideas about the “anthropology of drumming” with entrancing results for Luxembourg’s Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu label.
A sterling addition to Jelinek’s catalogue of solo releases and experimental collaborations, ‘puls-plus-puls’ finds the German artist properly indulging a formative passion for jazz music alongside one of free-jazz music’s most respected percussionists. Of course, this being Jelinek, the results are craftily complex but underlined by a hypnotic quality and bedevilling precision that’s always been key to his best work.
On the most immediate level, ‘puls-plus-puls’ is a steeply absorbing display of rhythmic psychedelia and percussive voodoo, pairing Johannsson’s sizzling, free-metered fray with Jelinek’s electronically penned patterns and iridescent drones. On another level, however, it’s a study in the nature and semantics of both machine and human-driven drumming styles.
Jelinek & Johansson’s follow a long tradition of German artists fascinated by rhythm-driven music - from Can and Kraftwerk, to Neu!, Basic Channel and T++, while also dovetailing with Mark Fell’s arrhythmic click-guided percussionists on last year’s acclaimed ‘Intra’ LP. Over the piece’s morphing composition, it’s difficult to separate the machine from the man, or expressive inflection from pure precision: the two are beautifully bound in a richly tactile, haptic, psychedelic roil that highlights percussive music’s ancient history, while questioning its ambiguous, human context in the binary information age.