Review: Jørgen Brønlund Quartet – Landscapes III (self-released, Jun 1)

a2206865190_10It’s difficult to tell whether the so-called Jørgen Brønlund Quartet is actually made up of four individuals; based on the often extreme minimalism of their music, I might be inclined to assume that’s not the case, but multi-member bands like Shots prove that sparseness can be deceiving. “Best played at moderate volume,” the five pieces that comprise Landscapes III seem culled from the same forest as is featured on the cover, bubbling brooks and crunching leaves and auditory constellations of birdsong. There’s definitely some contact mics and/or hydrophones at work in segments II and IV, which sieve delicate, microscopic texture recordings through what is either subtle threads of auxiliary electronic processing or simply unusual sound-capture techniques (or both) to yield meditative rustle-scapes, the hidden organic hustle and bustle revealed when one turns over a partially buried rock. In contrast, the more spatially generous I and V swirl blending long exhales of wind and water in fluid arabesques, not quite the almost overwhelming physicality of some of Jerman’s more immersive nature evocations (I’m particularly reminded of his track on Underwater) but instead viewed from a comfortable distance: a waterfall of cascading spray observed from the safety of the hiking trail, ripples and rapids rushing by beneath a sturdy wooden bridge. As if I didn’t miss autumn enough already.