|by David Fujino November 2006
Tone Collector was recorded live at the Glenn Miller Café in Stockholm, Sweden.
In "Never Removed From Box", Tony Malaby's grainy tenor actively probes the unreeling, repeating bass line of Eivid Opsvic until drummer Jeff Davis enters to both open up and becalm the performance.
The tunes "Waltz Coda" and "Shelf/Regular Model 309" reveal that bassist Opsvic's bowed tonal grounds (deliberately machine-like in their repetitions) prove to be nothing short of remarkable, especially in "Waltz Coda", which instantly conjures up troubling sound pictures of a post-Atomic world.
In "Matchbox", the group's moody minimalist approach to trio playing is reminiscent of the Tony Williams Blue Note recording, Spring, in which saxophonist Sam Rivers plays in a spacious atmosphere of strategically placed bass notes and minimal cymbal work.
Where "Matchbox" differs is in Malaby's subsequent solo which builds from believable Albert Ayler-ish honks and striated multiphonics to explosions of upper register skitterings and squeals.
Here, Opsvic's bowed solo is truly scary because of his insistence on playing the deep overtones that shiver your ears and teeth and sonically move you towards a gnawing anxiety that lies, it seems, at the heart of society's machine.
A general melancholy quality for example, as in the Wayne Shorter tune, "Footprints", or in tunes from the afore-mentioned Spring recording by drummer/composer Tony Williams such a melancholy characterizes the Tone Collector sound.
But make no mistake about it: The trio is enthusiastic and at a high level in its improvisations and you can hear the audience loudly cheering them on.