I was engrossed in the last couple of releases from El Paraiso based duo Martin Rude & Jakob Skøtt but their latest still caught me off guard. The pair released a couple of albums across 2020 that showed off their rapport, but with the latest entry into what they’ve titled their Stoic opus, the duo adds in the saxophone and alto flute of Tamar Osborn and everything begins to click into place. The Virtue of Temperance plays with modal jazz, but dips into moments of psychedelic waver, exploring notions of Library and film music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Pieces hang on the edges of funk, slink through the darkened corners of noir, and curl like smoke on Osborne’s flute, which winds up one of the highlights of the album. Anytime her arsenic and silk laced flute comes into the speakers the song is elevated in heady directions.
What comes across most for me is the tactile nature of the record. Rude’s bass parts thumb at the mind, pulling the listener across a wringer of rhythm. Skøtt skitters around the ropes of bass, making way for Osborn’s sharp slice of winds that bellow the beast, filling room with smoke, cinder, and ash. A few ripples of synth and squelch find their way into songs like “Keep Up,” and “Belonging To The In-between,” casting eerie shadows from the group’s fire, but for the most part, the players embrace the in-room energy of stings and sticks and forced air that pulls groove from the very walls of the studio. Loving this combo and I’m hoping that if the Stoic series continues that Tamar is invited along for the ride again.
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