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From disarray to the anesthetic, “Atlajala Land” is a land to be discovered by the ear, and it does cover one or two sonic oddities in between. Not strictly a free improv. effort, the duo behind the curtain seem to be headed towards certain set ends at many times, and as a whole the record sounds more structured than one would normally expect, which in itself is not something I particularly seek in jazz — and there comes the question, is “Atlajala Land” by all means a jazz, and furthermore, a free jazz album?
That, I’m afraid, would lead us into a never-ending discussion over some petty journalist terminology; still, it is worth noting Blijweert and Van Isacker seem to be, as improvising musicians, less concerned with either of the major shared notions within the scene they paradoxically belong to, and more with paving their way out of their instruments into somewhere storied — somewhere far distant from the heart of the city with which even the most oblivious jazz tunes of say Elliott Sharp can be associated with, to some degree.
Their sonic discovery, “Atlajala Land,” has the sensibility of a prog/folk record from the 70’s, and yet it relegates the people and their music and their world… and “Atlajala Land”… it sure is a shadowy place and one whose source of light is ever-present, ever-absent.
Written by Ari Wilson