Polar Bear

In Each and Every One

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London-based quintet Polar Bear are often tagged as an "avant jazz" group, which is both correct and incorrect, leaning further and further away from being an accurate description of the kitchen-sink genre combinations that make up fifth album In Each and Every One. While still heavy on saxophone from tenor players Mark Lockheart and Pete Wareham, this album sees the band looking deeper into textures, sound manipulation, and the use of editing and electronics to expand their sound, moving farther away from anything resembling run-of-the-mill jazz. The album opens with "Open See," a seven-minute passage of angelic, ambient textures, water sound effects, and airy, floating sax lines. There are layers of organic instruments buried within the piece, but they come and go slowly, passing as gradually as ice melting on the first sunny day after a long winter. This piece acts as a meditation to clear the mind for the rest of the album, which quickly gets into submerged, almost hip-hop-leaning electronic rhythms on "Be Free." The song's spare groove of upright bass and shuffling, layered drums serves as a background for processed saxophones and blipping electronics. The tune eventually takes a turn toward jarring edits, recalling Aphex Twin or Squarepusher in their jazziest modes. The ambient tendencies continue on tracks like the moody "Two Storms," which finds simple bass and horn figures awash in sheets of caustic noise. The use of production and electronic treatment amplifies almost all of the tracks here, creating interesting pockets of unexpected tension and menace in what would have otherwise stood as somewhat straightforward compositions.

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