Pewt'r Sessions 3
It was wise of Causa Sui to title its latest album Pewt'r Sessions 3. Doing so not only clarifies that it's obviously the latest in a series of improv-based sets that originated with the two volumes that appeared in 2011 but, more critically, makes clear that the album isn't the formal sequel to its 2013 double-album set Euporie Tide. Whereas that collection showcases the band's compositional prowess and high-level instrumental interplay, Pewt'r Sessions 3, like its predecessors, focuses on live jams with once again American musician Ron Schneiderman (Sunburned Hand of the Man) along for the ride. In contrast to Euporie Tide, which the group studiously worked on for more than two years, the Pewt'r Sessions discs are improv sets—spontaneous collaborations, if you prefer—executed quickly that offer the band a chance to indulge its wilder side.
Recorded in September 2013, the three tracks on Pewt'r Sessions 3 are drawn from four hours of music laid down during an afternoon of improvisations, with Causa Sui guitar player Jonas Munk the one credited with editing the material down to its forty-minute final form. On side one, the sunblinded “Abyssal Plain” oozes a simmering, eight-minute slow-burn with electric guitars draping psychedelic wah-wah across drummer Jakob Skøtt and bassist Jess Kahr's bruising low-end, while “Utopia,” less heavy by comparison, opts for five meandering minutes of contemplative exploration. Though the two shorter pieces aren't without their merits, they're clearly overshadowed by “Incipiency Suite,” which takes up the entire second side and is the release's true raison d'être.
“Incipiency Suite” sees Munk donning his Teo Macero hat as it's the piece featuring the greatest number of cut-and-paste edits and re-ordering. And the Macero reference isn't randomly chosen, incidentally, as the setting exemplifies a free jazz-rock spirit redolent of Miles Davis albums such as Big Fun and Live Evil. At times the thick guitar textures call to mind his In Concert band (Pete Cosey et al.), and there are moments when Kahr assumes the Michael Henderson role and the guitar playing resembles Davis's ravaged electric trumpet sound. While the music's often fiery, it veers twelve minutes along into a drum-less zone similar in wounded tone to Get Up With It's “He Loved Him Madly” and later slows to a smoldering crawl. The track's twenty-six-minute running time allows ample room for experimentation and exploration, and the band puts the opportunity to good use. Admittedly, “Incipiency Suite” is on occasion so adventurous, it might leave some Causa Sui fans behind, but kudos nonetheless to the band for boldly pushing forward.