Ensemble Nimbus — Scapegoat
(Record Heaven RHCD12, 19998/1998, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 1999-11-01
Ensemble Nimbus plays a sort of electric-acoustic chamber music. Percussionist Hasse Bruniusson of The Flower Kings and Sammla Mammas Manna is joined by Håkan Almkvist on guitar and other instruments, Lars Björk on clarinets, and Kirk Chilton on violin and viola. Almkvist is really the driving force here, as he is the only one with a hand in composing all eleven tracks (seven on his own, four in collaboration with various of the others). He’s a good writer – the tunes are inventive and full of interesting twists and harmonies. Only occasionally do they approach rock, like in the opening track, “Burning Arrows,” where halfway through, after a bouncy Middle Eastern flavored melody from the clarinet and viola, we suddenly get a distorted guitar feeding back. But the backing behind it is rather sparse drumming, and it’s topped by strange shouted words.
What they remind me of more than anything is a less aggressive Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, taking the developments of 20th Century composition and putting them in a (more or less) rock band context. The clarinet provides a different sound to the group, where a saxophone would be more expected. Studio effects like taped voices and found sounds spice up the arrangements. Nimbus is really doing something different, giving us a unique combination of modern classical, rock and electronics. While the playing is not generally flashy, the musicians work together to form a quite satisfying, well, ensemble.
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more