AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Mark Sanders / Emil Karlsen – Muted Language (2023; Bead Records)

This meeting of two drummers is nothing but polyrhythmic goodness from the densely-packed and appropriately-titled The Opening to the slightly more sparse Diversions. Emil Karlsen is a relative newcomer to the UK free improv scene, recently arriving from Norway. Mark Sanders has an absolutely massive discography, having played with dozens of like-minded folks from both sides of the Atlantic.

Muted Language is six short-to-medium-length pieces that showcase these gentlemen on their kits as well as wood blocks and other types of percussion. One of the more notable features is how they incorporate extended techniques – such as rubbing, brushing, and scratching – into the mix in a rather seamless fashion. Another area of distinction is the heavy use of cymbals, to the point where those implements provide the main rhythmic structure while the drums are used for exploration. What you won’t hear much of is a steady beat. Karlsen and Sanders engage in a dialog and play off of one another, but do so individualistically and to the point that either’s drum track taken alone would be an interesting listen.

Muted Language will be released on April 23 from Bead Records.

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