Jacob Anderskov: Spirit of the Hive
Swarming tracks for ten improvising musicians (LP)
Listening to Spirit of the Hive is to perceive the world from the perspective of bats, bees, birds and bugs. How does it feel to be inside the swarm, the hive, the flock? How does the hive perceive the threats from the outside world – especially those coming from humans? Meanwhile, the album meditates on how the larger patterns emerging from animal behaviour are a constant source of awe and wonder, when perceived through the human sensory system. But first of all, the album deals with the close interdependence between these animals and our way of life.
“100 years after Antoni Gaudi, the magically captivating properties of emergent forms from animals continue to offer radical experiences, not the least when perceived as art. I found it highly interesting how an ensemble of improvisers would operate within this frame, not the least because emergent patterns from multiple improvisers has a lot to show us, in terms of how our relatedness to nature is operating, even to this day.
While depicting a swarming collective, the music is also a parable on humanity’s close entanglement with the swarming animals. We know we are threatening these species, but do we grasp how much the situation can strike back at ourselves? For instance: as fascinating or frightening as bees are, they are first and foremost threatened by our way of life. This can lead to a disaster way beyond the life of bees, since they are crucial to the pollination of plants. Weeks after the live premiere of the music on this album, the world shut down because bats had been forced out of their dwellings in nature. They brought a tiny viral signature into our cities - upon which it spread across the global community. The bats reiterated their importance, and we need to think about their way of life, even beyond their appearances as entertaining symbols of fright in the movies”.
Catalogue #: ILK325LP
Release date: 18-June-2021
Anders Banke, Francesco Bigoni, Calum Builder, Maria Dybbroe, Carolyn Goodwin, Matthias Sigurdsson Clarinets & Flutes. Nils Davidsen Cello. Tomo Jacobson & Asger Thomsen Basses. Halym Kim Drums. Composed and conducted by Jacob Anderskov
"Let's boldly conclude that Jacob managed to achieve not only all the goals set on the album Spirit Of Hive, but also to provide us with a really excellent recording. You can feel the breathing of the double basses, which are getting ready for an effective counterpoint. They come like a summer storm and leave only a modest clarinet alive. Fortunately, all participants of this game, without undue delay, take a certain distance from each other. The finale of this extraordinary epic is moderate, but it also multiplies question marks and creates the existential fear of the moment."
"The Danish pianist, composer and innovator Jacob Anderskov continues to go his own way. Fortunately. At least with this work, Anderskov has created wonder and excitement in an open, free and noted, but at the same time improvisational excursion with contemporary music impulses that doesn't resemble anything I have heard before. That alone is enough to strongly pique curiosity and Jacob Anderskov confirms with it what a special and unique voice he is and has - also as a composer."
"It is a deeply fascinating venture that the Danish jazz musician Jacob Anderskov has thrown himself into (...) an extremely believable inferno; a soundscape that convincingly balances between the expressive avantgarde, free jazz and chamber music. Jacob Anderskov's ambition and vision have most likely been fulfilled and achieved. Rarely have I at least heard a natural phenomenon translated into music - in such a believable and talented way."
- Ivan Rod
"The ensemble sounds like a close, interdependent swarm, surprisingly a democratic collective with no significant leader and no soloists, stressing that the whole swarm is bigger than its parts (...) an unsettling, chaotic and dissonant metaphor to the relationship of humans with bugs, a source of constant awe and wonder. These speculative and surprisingly lyrical and melancholic bugs sound as crying for our attention, even begging us to acknowledge the mutual interdependence of their and our world. A highly impressive and obviously quite provocative work of art."
- Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts
"Pianist, composer and conductor Jacob Anderskov's Spirit of the Hive is an album where an awareness of the thoughts behind really elevates the work - a jazz album about not only the sensory worlds of swarms, but also us humans' place in these. With this knowledge in mind, it is immensely interesting to hear how Anderskov, flanked by six clarinet and flute players, two double bassists, a cellist and a drummer, can make birds whistle and soar. How he evokes the bee swarm that is buzzing back and forth. How bats' high-frequency echolocation is reproduced in a form that is actually audible to our limited sensory apparatus."
- Kristoffer Møllegaard, Seismograf
"You get the feeling that you are almost attacked by bees buzzing all the way around your ears, before you are almost dragged into the hive towards the end. Certainly a terrible experience for those with phobias against all the little insects that fly around us in the summer, but lovely for the rest of us. The music is extremely exciting, and with this bunch of musicians, he has found the right ones for the task (...) This has become a different record from Anderskov. I feel it is much more challenging than what we have previously received from him on record, and as he surrounds himself with excellent, relatively young musicians, who are open to new and exciting tasks and impressions, he has created a "work" which is both exciting, in most ways, creative and extremely interesting."
- Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts
"The strength of this recording lies mainly in the use of the instruments to create more in-depth topics such as feelings of cohesion and threat, but also the communication between themselves on the one hand and between animals and humans on the other, with the latter in the role of ruler and destroyer. Intriguing how Anderskov developed a code language between the different instruments themselves and for the ensemble as a unit. A play of sharp contrasts and complementary modules mounted like a diorama. … A unique world miles away from ‘Le Carnaval Des Animaux' by Camille Saint-Saëns or 'L'Apocalyps Des Animaux' by Vangelis."
- Georges Tonla Briquet, Jazz'halo
"We very much enjoyed this musical investigation on two fronts. First, it triggered our imagination to envision groups of flying animals as we listened to the tracks. Second, we simply enjoyed the music on its own terms without any need for ulterior explanation. Both aspects prompted us to listen and relisten to the album many times."
- Poison Pie Publishing House