Block Ensemble: Hugs & Bugs
‘Hugs and Bugs’ is the product of the compositional mind of saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts, whom the notes of this album indicate as its initiator, curator, editor and producer, with the help of electronics visionary Lasse Marhaug. Alberts and Marhaug aren’t among the players reunited for the Block Ensemble, but their presence is always felt. They had a musical puzzle in their hands: the contributions of 14 top improvisers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, each one recorded in isolation during the pandemic. Both connected the pieces masterfully in one of the most ingenious creations resulting from the challenges imposed to music by the new virus affecting humanity. Curiously enough when Lasse Marhaug is involved, and when one of the performers is Maja Ratkje (here exclusively as one of the singers), this opus is entirely acoustic. Strings, percussion, blowing instruments, pipes (organ and accordion) and vocals are the instruments used, and their association is a feast of timbral and pitch combinations. Not to be missed.