Zemlya by O'Leary Kang Van Der Schyff reviewed on Vortex Jazz

by Chris Parker

Another intriguing choice of musical partners for Mark O'Leary previous albums have featured him alongside Matthew Shipp, Tomasz Stanko, Uri Caine, Steve Swallow, Cuong Vu, to name just five enables him to set his extraordinary range of electric-guitar sounds (from almost Terje Rypdal-like spacy needling, through keening moans to urgently climactic scrabbling) against an equally varied range of violin sounds from the virtuosic Eyvind Kang and the sensitive but powerful drummer Dylan Van Der Schyff.

Kang's instrument is particularly well suited to free playing, able to switch as required from soaring or frenetic, searing bowed sounds to subtle plucked accompaniment, and with Van Der Schyff proving equally resourceful (and all three having access to various species of electronics), Zemlya is a constantly shifting soundscape, though perhaps at its considerable best when as in the longest track, 'Sorcery', the band simply goes for broke and indulges itself in eighteen minutes of fierce and relatively uncomplicated no-holds-barred interaction. Another intense, powerful album from the prolific, protean free guitarist.

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