In Contrast

Beauty in the details

text: Robin Boer

After multiple tours through different countries and collaborations with the likes of Coal Harbour, Kika Sprangers, Sebastiaan van Bavel, Sjoerd van Eijck and Robert Koemans, drummer/composer Willem Romers (1993) finally released some music of his own in the form of the live EP ‘In Contrast.’

Opening track ‘The Search’ appears to have a gentle buildup, though all of a sudden it fades away so abruptly it feels like an excerpt, rather than a full piece, so we consider it a sneak peak of what’s to come.

In ‘Svartvass’ we define nice textures of repetitive string picking, and sparingly drumming. Roozenburg adds nice floaty harmonies that glues together with Schilderink’s beautiful saxophone melody. This piece could easily be part of the ECM catalogue.

Very minimal, atmospheric characteristics are found on the third piece ‘In Contrast’. The beauty lies in the details. Another tasteful collaboration between instruments, where harmonies and melodies again are led by guitar and saxophone. Barret’s double bass is featured here in the shape of a nice, exploring and suggestive form. The tension rises, the arrangement develops from a wilder, and more free rhythm section.

‘Kora’ is a composition which may be easier to grasp for average listeners, starting off with a clear bass theme and groovy drum and guitar rhythms, not specifically deeply exploring harmonics, though nicely rippling and fine playing.

More romantic flavors in ‘Ukonhattu’ with nice tone control by Schilderink, playing a beautiful melody, supported by further sketches, painted by the other three musicians. More or less the same can be said about the closer ‘The Search – Var’ which is a more satisfying take than the album opener, for it sounds more clear, convincing and complete.

To summarize, Romers and his quartet created an inspired impression here: their own take on the spirit of ambient jazz which reminds to the Nordic giants and it is clear that we haven’t heard the whole story of this quartet by far.