|"This is the forth studio release from Ken Vandermark's evolving Territory Band with five new compositions (two different versions of 'Reverse')."
Featuring Fredrik Ljungkvist, Dave Rempis & Ken Vandermark on saxes & clarinets, Axel Doerner on trumpets, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Jim Baker on piano, Lasse Marhaug on electronics, Fred Longberg-Holm on cello, Kent Kessler on bass and Paul Lytton & Paal Nilssen-Love on drums & percussion. This is one of Vandermark's more serious and challenging ensembles, closer to a modern chamber group in certain ways. There are only six pieces on this 2-disc set, so all are relatively long (8 to 21 minutes). As always, each piece is dedicated to an individual who has inspired Ken in some way: Abdul Wadud, Milton Babbitt, David Tudor, Stanley Kubrick, Sebastiao Salgado (a photographer) and Dr. Franja Bojc, the last two I am not familiar with, but Ken explains their importance in the illuminating liner notes. "Killing Floor" features the harsh yet captivating electronic noise of their newest member, Larre Marhaug. While Larre's electronics open, soon a marching beat enters as the saxes and brass repeat the riff with what sounds like Jeb Bishop's great punk/noise guitar splinters. Some of the horns sound as if they are being played backwards, but I think that this is just the way it is written. Similar to the way Hugh Hopper scored bits of '1984'. The middle section features some eloquent written passages for melancholy piano, hushed horns, distant strings and minimal yet intricate percussion. "Reverse One" deals with the dark, quiet, alien textures provided by the electronics, percussion, cello, horns and other unidentifiable sounds. Rather Music Improvisation Company-like. "Franja" is dedicated to Dr. Franja Bojc, who ran a hospital hidden in the mountains of Slovenia during World War II, where many lives were saved. It begins with strange, shimmering sounds and evolves through a touching ballad and blues section. The band grows more powerfully as the layers of horns start to build and swirl together with some fine solos from the tenor and baritone saxes, as well as more fractured and intense noise/guitar. In the mid-section we find an inspired cello solo over hushed horn parts and strong contrabass. Then again it builds to a hard swinging frenzy with some amazing trombone solos. And that's just the first disc.