[Reviewed by Damiano Lenzi]
This three-song EP by Belgian jazz-rock band Nordmann anticipates their full-length album “Alarm!” that will be released shortly (on February 19th). Nordmann is a quartet composed of Edmund Lauret on guitar, Mattias De Craene on sax, Dries Geusens on bass and Elias Devoldere on drums. They play powerful rock-fusion instrumentals with charming melodic lines of sax and guitars that are often reminiscent of the first King Crimson, Frank Zappa’s “Uncle Meat” and “Hot Rats”, as well as the most jazz-oriented progressive formations such as Henry Cow, Hatfield and the North and Emergency. The inventive and dynamic rhythmic section does its job fine and the ensemble is truly balanced; every instrument has its right place, making this EP a promising anticipation of what is going to be heard on the upcoming album.
“The Pedestrian” opens with a noir atmosphere, courtesy of the melancholic sax line. The drums gradually increase the tension and then an intricate bridge carries us back to the main theme, this time played with a jazz accompaniment and then one octave higher. The song evolves in a quieter section with electric guitar arpeggios to finally grow again in the coda. This track is a perfect example of how Nordmann are able to move fluently between different moods and degrees of intensity, while being concise and avoiding extra long compositions. “Delhi Belly” is a less structured piece, with some more room for improvisation and a somewhat exotic feel. Finally “Rups”, with its cascading themes and the almost dissonant harmonization of the guitar, is the track that most closely recalls King Crimson from the “In The Wake of Poseidon” era.
A pleasant listen that makes us curious to hear what will come next from these guys!