The word “unlayered” is not a commonly used one. Moreover it is so nebulous a word that it almost always needs other qualifiers [in a sentence] or other syntactical information to be understood. But it appears to be wonderfully appropriate as the title of this recording by drummer and percussion colourist Enrique Haneine. It needs no explanation although Mr Haneine has attempted to do so, on the package. His thoughts on the choice of the word – his attempts to describe [or even justify] its choice may strike you as appropriately obtuse.
But the music – in its angular darkness, with the shimmering refractions ensuing from horns and bass that are all buffeted by the incessant rattle and hum and splashing of Mr Haneine’s percussion battery – is powerful and needs no explanation. The continuous roiling of Thomas Heberer’s trumpet, Catherine Sikora’s saxophones and Christof Knoche’s bass clarinet, and the rumbling gravity of Jay Anderson’s contrabass – all together with the stutter and hammer of Mr Haneine’s drums takes you to another world. It is one where a titanic battle between the intellect and emotions ensues. It is as if the musicians are constantly trying to penetrate a membrane that separates the warring parties.
On first listening to the music I missed the calming mediation of a chordal instrument – a piano, or a guitar, or even a complement of strings. However, upon listening again and a little more deeply it appears that Mr Haneine’s decision to eschew such a chordal instrument might seem inspired. It certainly forces the listener to listen to the music in a way that exposes him to the music’s inner tension. In the skittering music of “Luculent Jiggle” you may be led to a state of giddiness when you let yourself be taken by the mad rhythm of the piece. Similarly, in “Dance of Endless Encounter” the very impossibility an endless encounter itself creates whirlpools of emotions as you succumb to its cross-harmonics.
The tension of the music is palpable. Not only does Mr Haneine demand that of anyone who dares to listen to this music, but he seems to take pleasure forcing this on you. And so you allow yourself to succumb to the paradigms – every title seems to suggest one, to begin with – and this is how a magical thing happens: you also begin to enjoy this repertoire enormously.
Track list – 1: Behind the Missing Whisper; 2: Luculent Jiggle; 3: Thriving Ring; 4: Queen of the Underground; 5: Dance of Endless Encounter; 6: Seldom Disguise; 7: The Sweetest Finding; 8: Illustrious Bickering; 9: Oust No More; 10: What of What We Are; 11: Once
Personnel – Thomas Heberer: trumpet; Catherine Sikora: tenor and soprano saxophones; Christof Knoche: bass clarinet; Jay Anderson: contrabass; Enrique Haneine: drums, cymbals, udu drum and tambourine
Released – 2020
Label – Elegant Walk Records
Runtime – 1:10:11