Alex Zethson Ensemble – Some of Them Were Never Unprepared (Thanatosis Produktion/Relative Pitch, LP/CD/digital)

The list of those who have been inspired by gamelan is long. Alexander Zethson, known among other things as a member of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and several other groups, is mainly interested in the aspects of collective composition on the first album of his Alex Zethson Ensemble. The two pieces on »Some of Them Were Never Unprepared« sound accordingly like they have been preceded by lot of sweaty work and resulted in nine musicians who have found perfect coordination with each other over the course of many rehearsals. So well, in fact, that at times their very different instruments—two pianos, three guitars, two basses, two cellos, a violin, another violin equipped with a contact microphone, drums and gongs as well as a shaker—can hardly be distinguished. Even subtle changes in the powerful pulses that form the backbone of the compositions have the greatest possible effect. There is an immense power in this collective approach that Zethson and his comrades-in-arms have carved out of the gamelan-inspired pieces.