TTW#34 - Burning Tree - Stinger
Illustration - Florian Hetz.
Burning Tree are Dag Stiberg & Dag Erik Knedal Andersen.
Dag Erik Knedal Andersen is perhaps best known for his “hyperactive, take-no-prisoners” approach to drumming. He has been a ubiquitous presence on the Norwegian improvised music scene over the last couple of years, and has toured all over Europe with groups such as Golden Dawn, Cunt Rash, and the now-inactive Supersonic Rocketship.
Dag Stiberg has been studying alternative approaches to the saxophone sound for a decade, both solo and with his band Maranata. Mostly known for his wide use of guitar effects he has taken another approach in the band Burning Tree, which explores the sounds of the acoustic realm.
Burning Tree decided to go into the studio in February 2011 and record an acoustic session. They had recently done a lot of noise stuff with their noise bands Cunt Rash and Maranata and wanted to bring that energy to this recording. The result is a very harsh free jazz tape with five tracks – total 35 minutes – with extremely dirty saxophone and ecstatic drums.
SPIN Magazine (US):
SPIN's 20 Best Avant Albums of 2011, #7 – Full-contact drummer Dag Erik Knedal Andersen and pyrotechnic saxophonist Dag Stiberg, twin powerhouses of Norwegian free jazz, show absolutely no mercy on a rapturous 35-minute cassette of blown-out, high-velocity, ultimate-fighting improvisation.
The Esoterrorist (US):
Notorious Norwegian improvisers Dag Stiberg and Dag Erik Knedal Andersen are formerly known for their electric noise work in bands such as Cunt Rash and Maranata, but on their recent Tapeworm cassette, Stinger, the duo creates a more acoustic, yet undeniably harsh, brand of free jazz.
Stiberg has been studying alternative approaches to his saxophone’s sound for at least a decade, running his unconventional styles through numerous distortions and effects and achieving absolutely brilliant results. The same level of praise is deserved of Anderson’s fierce and relentless cacophony of drums he has contributed to bands such as Golden Dawn and Supersonic Rocketship (R.I.P.). It is also worth mentioning that Anderson’s level of technical skill is actually quite rare in many groups of similar taste. It is because of these heightened abilities of the Dags’ talents that an organic and acoustic approach to improvisation seems fitting for the two. And they do more than just pull it off; Burning Tree make some of the most elaborately colorful and impressive free jazz improv one could hope to hear lately. The duet put off a consistent ecstatic energy that can easily be lost in the meandering of noise jammers. This consistency causes the listener to never lose interest throughout the 5 tracks of this 35-minute release (limited to 200). Highly recommended.
Burning Tree's tape was also featured in The Esoterrorist's 2011 Favourites list – Tapeworm never fails to impress us, but this cassette from Norwegian improvisers Dag Stiberg and Dag Erik Knedal Andersen shocked us at how amazing these two work together and how eruptive and clever their brand of free-jazz is. This tape definitely proves that any line between improvisation jazz and improvisational noise should be blurred. One of our highest recommendations.
Aquarius Records (US):
Three new tapes this week from aQ beloved tape label The Tapeworm (out of four new releases, we'll list #4 next time, it's a doozy!), running the gamut from solo piano to opera to bedroom recorded tape experiments to this. A wild skronked out blast of Norwegian free jazz from his drum/sax duo, described by the label as “harsh free jazz” which this most certainly is, the drumming relentless and intricate and wildly chaotic, the sax bleating and squealing and spitting out insane atonal melodic runs, the two instruments sparring constantly, like dueling solos, the method to their madness surfacing here and there, but for the most part a head spinning barrage of sound, that will probably hit the spot for folks into the wildest free jazz, think Borbetomagus meets the Jooklo Duo and you'll be in the ball park.
Dizzyingly intense and wildly relentless, file under the Borbetomagus coined descriptor: “snuff jazz”.
Crucial Blast (US):
I've only caught a couple of select offerings from the Tapeworm cassette series, mainly the ones with a more creep-stained, witchy touch from Stephen O'Malley and Meltaot. This newer offering from the British tape label isn't the sort of ghoulish improvisational scrape and drone that those artists delivered, but it is an exceedingly abrasive bout of high-intensity improv violence that demands to be listened to at ear-bleeding volume levels. Limited to an edition of two hundred copies and packaged in the minimalist black and white artwork that is the signature look of the Tapeworm imprint, Stinger delivers five blasts of ferocious free-jazz squonk that bear titles like “Sting”, “Shred”, “Bite” and “Bends”, which all appear to infer the potential effect that this cassette might incur on the listener's nervous system. The Norwegian duo Burning Tree consists of drummer Dag Erik Knedal Andersen and saxophonist Dag Stiberg, and with their limited palette of sax and percussion execute some seriously blazing noise-jazz abuse across the length of this thirty-five minute album, starting with circling runs of sax bleat and crashing cymbals, then cranking up the chaos until they peak out with cyclonic blasts of abrasive skronk as the drums explode with complex fills, speeding up to almost blast beat speeds, and whipping through intricate patterns that are all smashed together as Stiberg races his sax through spastic dissonant runs and aneurysm-inducing blowouts that resemble the death-shrieks of a mortally wounded beast. This tape is a fucking scorcher, and any and all disciples of brute-strength free jazz like Borbetomagus, Weasel Walter's recent ensemble work, and Tiger Hatchery should stick this on their to-do list, pronto.
Vital Weekly (NL):
A duo of from Norway, being Dag Erik Knedal Andersen on drums and Dag Stilberg on saxophone. Normally he plays these with a whole bunch of guitar effects (in his other band Maranata), but here its all acoustic, for both of them. Total and utter free improvised music - free-jazz if you will. This tape last thirty-five minutes and this seems to me the same amount of time spend in the studio - with stuff like this there is no need for editing, dubbing or producing - this music is just being documented, “as is”. Now you could easily wonder if this music needs to be documented at all, or whether its the live element that should count only. Obviously I don't agree - I think it should be, and when recorded under fine conditions: why not. This reminded me of an old Dutch band, Der Junge Hund, whose first LP lasted thirty-five minutes and they didn't spend more time in the studio. Ear blasting, chaotic, wild, lovely.
The Wire (UK):
Nice collab by Norwegian improvisors Dag Stiberg and Dag Erik Knedal Andersen who blurt out a very frenzied session of sax/drum gruntery of the highest order. This is, of course, one of the kings of improvisational formatting, and these guys go at it pretty damn well. The drums may have a bit more linearity to their approach than I favour. But hey, that's just me.