GB 096CD GB 096CD

Coming out of the fertile London jazz and experimental scenes, Krononaut is a richly textured new ensemble helmed by guitarist/producer Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Imogen Heap, Jon Hopkins) and drummer Martin France (Nils Petter Molvær, Evan Parker). The album features an esteemed group of collaborators and a sonic footprint that channels spectral ambiance, "fourth world" expansions and a gorgeous slow-boiling pointillism. Krononaut are a posse of time-expanding shapeshifters who, in the space of two sessions recorded early last year in London, have managed to produce ten cuts of arresting, deeply immersive instrumental music. The core of the album is provided by Leo Abrahams, whose startling guitar lit up Small Craft On A Milk Sea (2010), some of Brian Eno's best work of the last couple of decades, and who plays and produces here, and Martin France, the extraordinary drummer whose wide list of achievements and collaborators includes Evan Parker, Nils Petter Molvær, and, more tangentially, Elvis Costello. The two men came at it from two radically different backgrounds: Leo, who started off studying classic composition and who, in his own words, "can't play jazz", and Martin, whose playing rests precisely on what he refers to a "jazz sensibility", on everything about interacting within and shaping the music implied by that term. In on the first session was Shahzad Ismaily (Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Marc Ribot). Like many great multi-instrumentalists (on this album he plays bass), he was keen to find a frame for the "attitude" they should seek in the session; Leo obliged by playing some Madoh, shamanic funeral music from Tajikistan, whose unique rhythms ended up informing both the guitar and drums on this record. A second session was joined by bassist Tim Harries (June Tabor, Byrne & Eno), American saxophonist Matana Roberts, and Swedish trumpet maestro Arve Henriksen. Save for Henriksen's gorgeously melodic, flute-like lines, Krononaut was improvised live with no overdubs. Yet, these soundscapes never feel jammy or unfocused, possibly because of the influence of another of the album's spiritual touchstones: avant-garde pioneer Morton Feldman. The sessions produce overall a subtle and intricate record that expands with each listen. Pointillistic and often quietly restless. Rough edges butting against discrete spaces.