Hammer and Tongs

Last noted Norwegian jazz drummer Erland Dahlen in 2012 with his Rolling Bomber solo record. Here he be again with Blossom Bells (HUBRO MUSIC HUBROCD2525), where once again a vintage drum kit is at the heart of his efforts – this time some 1930s WFL (i.e. Ludwig) drums. If you’ve ever seen a photo of Ringo’s kit, you might appreciate why drum trainspotters go bonkers for a good Ludwig. Dahlen also plays all manner of non-conventional instruments – the printed inventory of tools and objects on the back is more like something you’d take along for a shopping spree at the hardware store – and adds electronics and drones, sometimes applying percussive techniques using mallets on guitars and other stringed instruments. Net result is surprisingly varied if you were expecting a percussion-only record, and offers plenty of melodic and aurally rich moments, taking us from uplifting and energised runs across the snowy countryside to wistful, moody contemplations of the bleak landscape. A strong combination of abstract, scrapey noise with low-key, restrained melodies; as with many Hubro releases, the plan is to advance us a stage or two beyond the known conventions of instrumental rock or contemporary jazz. Arrived 27 July 2015.