Viirus: The Virus Album

Though a relatively young label, Klanggold has to date issued challenging material and Viirus's The Virus Album is no exception. On the forty-four minute collection's thirteen pieces, Daniel Älgå (saxophones, clarinet, melodica, Nord Modular, NoiceSwash, electronics) and Pontus Torstensson (drums, percussion, electronics) succinctly fuse jazz with electronics in bold and experimental fashion. A grab bag of improvs and more carefully structured pieces (“Paramyxo”), a typical Viirus piece features spirited, free drum and sax playing accompanied by atmospheric electronic effects and patterns. Ruminative (“Picoma”), rambunctious (“Filo”), and even raucous (“Flavi”), Viirus proves itself capable of navigating multiple stylistic contexts (including gamelan in “Papova”). Memorable pieces like “Arbo” place Älgå's soprano sax front and center (multi-tracked in “Calici,” he sounds like the World Saxophone Quartet with a laptop improviser sitting in) though the album's spaciest moments arrive during the haunted “Ortomyxo” where high-pitched scrapes rub shoulders with a ghostly saxophone as an electronic corpse is dragged across the floor. At day's end, however, “Adeno,” a standout ballad setting for tenor sax, percussion, and electronics, shows that restraint can be just as effective a strategy.

February 2008