The album was recorded a few months after Jakob experienced a brief, yet painful spontaneous leak of brain fluid. Instrumentality draws on that corpal experience in it’s titles and artwork, as well as works it’s musical muse. It’s music that constantly dives inwards – ever repetitive, yet constantly moving. From micro movements in Skøtt’s poly-rhythms, to the 5 song cycles diving to the depths of the splintered nerves reconnecting with their natural flow.This, I feel, gives the work a whole additional level of meaning which can certainly be read into it when you listen. The opener, ‘The Dura Plane’, gets the album of to a strong start with its slightly off-kilter repeato-rhythms. As you would expect the drums are high in the mix and getting a proper pounding before Skøtt leads us off into a dreamlike mid-section which feels detached and disorientated before hitting the beat again to take it home. After that ‘2nd Foundation’ is a complex jazz/ beats number which sees an eclectic of styles competing with each other creating a musical tableau that feels like it’s overloading the senses… it almost feels too much. Gradually the track drops back a level, but never loses that sense of confusion and fragmentation with Skøtt drums in particular never settling into anything you would say was a consistent rhythm. The overall result, especially given the context in which it is being performed, is a track that is both forceful and moving… especially when the power gets turned up towards the end. The breathing at the start of ‘Altered State’, although brief, appears erratic and tells you pretty much all you need to know about where this moment is. Then as the dark and sombre beats come in you are left in no doubt that this is a track borne out of disorientation and fear. There is a sort of petrification to this number for me in the way that the booms of sound hit you and eventually break apart into a clear mental confusion… you cannot really imagine Skøtt’s experiences but he certainly sonically describes them very well. ‘Purple Visage’ continues with this sense of disorientation, and yet here you also begin to perhaps detect moments of clarity, but also moments of disintegration through spirals of music that are almost space like. Here there are elements which feel positive too, as if somehow the drugs have taken over and hallucinations provide a respite. The final track ‘Tapping The Source With The Lords of Instrumentality’ is by far the longest one at nearly fifteen minutes. While there is the same sort of confused coda at the beginning it feels like we are being taken very quickly to a different place. There is much more of a sense of forward motion here as we settle into the tempo. This is one of those longer numbers that really keeps its basic theme throughout, with variations swirling around it. At times this string comes very close to breaking point and you’re left wondering whether it will snap sending the whole piece into a series of sonic shards… but it is just about kept together and finishes like much of this record with you imagining the synapses of Skøtt’s brain being changed, disconnected and reconnected. This is one of those albums where I feel you really benefit from knowing the circumstances in which it has been written and recorded. With that knowledge this transforms the set for me from one that is really very good to one that you can really get inside and, while not experience what Skøtt went through, but certainly go some way to imagining it. In that sense he puts forward what he went through very well… the inner working of the brain are mysterious at the best of times, but this was something else and ‘Instrumentality’ puts you front and centre of that. It also helps, though, that this is also a superbly played set which is musically well worth listening to in its own right. Both albums are released by El Paraiso.
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