The lines between composition and improvisation have always been ones which jazz musicians seek to blur- from the melodious lines of Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis, to the flights of technical expertise of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane- the improvisational side of jazz has always been important, and on this latest album from multi-national ensemble Anti-House, led by saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, definitely adds to the blurring effect.
The tracks on Strong Place are a series of compositions which incorporate jazz playing with avant-guard techniques, and inflections of world music. The mixture of flowing melodies which seamlessly merge and combine with sometimes halting, stuttering rhythmic patterns and extended use of harmonies serve to accentuate the heavily improvised nature of the album and to make the individual tracks all distinct, whilst allowing a constant darker feel underlying the whole album.
The tracks are all of a length which allows all the members of the group space to play. This means that the album has a very organic, almost ethereal quality to it.
The musicians all make use of added techniques on their instruments, other than just playing normally- the guitar is played with the tuners, the saxophones squeak and rumble and the piano is played in a percussive style. All of this combines to make an exciting, eclectic and interesting collection of tracks.