Jaap Blonk

Improvisors, Vol. 3

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Improvising with Jaap Blonk is not an easy task. The man's voice is so downright strange, it has such a disconcerting way to mutate that it steals the show on the first onomatopoeia. In the end it leaves little room to the other musicians -- and not because Blonk cannot listen, but because the listener's ear remains focused on it. Trombonist Carl Ludwig Hübsch and turntablist Claus Van Bebber seem to be acknowledging that. Instead of battling for the spotlight, they work in the shadows, insidiously invading Blonk's sphere until we notice them. Hübsch's low-end gargles and breathing sounds play tricks on our ears, stealing the vocalizer's vocabulary straight from his mouth, especially in "Pheite Bedog" and "Bobe Lühet." Van Bebber sticks to a more decorative role -- too decorative, he can be more incisive than this -- providing limping orchestral backdrops, vinyl surface noises, antiquated speed-ups and downs, along with the occasional animal call or electro-acoustic burp that ends up in Blonk's range. Right from the start Blonk establishes his invented language and rubber man-like diction. As the album progresses, he resorts to more abstract vocalizing, letting the other players contribute something more elemental to the improvisations. For the last selection, "The Üblog Tide" (by far the longest piece at 12 minutes), Blonk is "trapped" in the left channel while Van Bebber finally comes up with one of his monstrously effective vinyl superimpositions and Hübsch conjures up sounds that simply should not be coming out of any tuba. So why stop there? This installment in Kontrans' Improvisors series deserved another quarter of an hour to irremediably win us over.

blue highlight denotes track pick