This is a promotional sampler released by the Norwegian label NORCD to present its productions. In 2001, the company celebrated its tenth anniversary and launched the free improv-focused imprint Sofa. European Improvised Music features one track each from all six Sofa titles then available, including 12 minutes from Tony Oxley Project 1's Triangular Screen and ten minutes from the Derek Bailey/Ingar Zach CD Llaer. NORCD also releases music in the fields of jazz, world, and folk music, but the idea for this sampler was not to illustrate the whole spectrum of its activities. It is represented by only five tracks, all under five minutes. Some come from CDs released in the mid-'90s. As a result, the CD shows what Sofa produces and which albums from the mother label inspired the spin-off in the first place. The track selection is very inspired ("Mir 1.4" by No Spaghetti Edition and the Bailey/Zach "Horizontal Rain" were the best possible choices). The whole CD makes sense and can be comfortably listened to as an album of British free improvisation with a Scandinavian twist -- unless you prefer to see it the other way around. Some of the other artists included are Paal Nilssen-Love, Sten Sandell, Isglem, and Close Erase.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture