(2019 - 7d Media - USA)
Taking a type of minimalist and mathrock, slowing it down with postrock atmosphere, bringing a tight clean jazz element to it, and creating a set of dreamscape styled equal balance between classical and progressive rock (similar to Alan Parsons Project instrumentals), and you have the formula for Switzerland's unique Akku Quintet. This, their 4th release (first time on 7d Media label), brings in an even more rich pictorial essence.
Knowing this is a band led and founded by Manuel Pasquinelli (Sonar's drummer) is reason to take notice. In the same way that Sonar and Nik Bartsch's Ronin integrate styles and keep a balance of power between all the musicians, so does Akku Quintet. In staying with the less is more formula, they stay with a 5 song (and extended cut) release. 'Depart' has a lot of different colors, including influences from gamelan music, electronica, and all those aforementioned genres. Some moments remind of Mark Isham's 'Vapor Drawings' (without the trumpet of course) and not surprisingly; Sonar, along with ECM gentle suggestion. The 5 pieces have plenty of room to explore and go different places. The members include : Manuel Pasquinelli - drums, all compositions / Michael Gilsenan - sax / Maja Nydegger - keys / Markus Ischer - guitar / Andi Schnellmann - bass. The instrumentation on the album sounds far more broad then the listing of instruments may imply.
Much of the infectious music begins with simplistics (again, similar to Sonar and soundtracks of a reflective mood), but develop with the suave hybrid immersion that instantly provides graphic images. All in fine order, the flow is always in motion. The first cut 'Largo' and fourth 'Depart' (title track) each have pristine accents and sharp rhythmic groove. Pasquinelli understands the power and position of syncopation, using his drumkit to sometimes suspend the feel of the melody or phrases. A striking, melodious, and expressive set of works. Super nice!
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 6 - 8 - 2019