Album reviews

Dishwasher_ – ‘Dishwasher_’

Dishwasher_ – Dishwasher_

(SDBAN ULTRA CD/LP33, Review by Frank Graham)

From X-Legged Sally to Bram De Looze, the relatively small population of Belgium has certainly made its mark on contemporary jazz. With a new generation of artists beginning to make waves, those familiar with the brilliantly sardonic improv of SCHNTZL, the dreamy sonic tapestries of The Milk Factory or the neon-lit electro-jazz of Dishwasher_ won’t need to be told that the country’s jazz scene remains in rude health.

Formed in 2019, Ghent-based trio Dishwasher_ is comprised of Werend Van Den Bossche (saxophones and electronics), Louise van den Heuvel (electric bass) and Arno Grootaers (drums). Somewhat akin to Otis Sandsjö’s deconstructed hop-hop or the post-ambient soundworlds of Nils Petter Molvær and Arve Henriksen, Dishwasher_ play a form of improvised instrumental music that straddles many genres. Other than their unflagging energy, what I find most striking about their music is the extent to which electronic effects and processing are so seamlessly stitched-in.

Of course Belgium also has a proud history of new electronic music, and listening to the pounding post-industrial beats of Bahá’í I’d wager that the trio has more than a passing interest in the influential sounds of ‘90s Brussels-based label SSR. In scarcely four minutes the track moves through driving rhythms, chilled soundscapes and wild free improvisation, its edge-of-the-seat unpredictability as confrontational as it is alluring.

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Buraq draws on the the trio’s sharp melodic wit, its post-drum ’n’ bass intricacies casting an irresistible spell. Blue Bridge juxtaposes tight thematic structures with passages of abstraction, while Marwan is an atmospheric slow-burner. Anchored by van den Heuvel’s dubby low-end bass, it brings a momentary sense of calm before the turbulent grooves of Kuhl. The fast-moving sequences of Fair Enough are laced with witty rhythmic gameplay, standing in stark contrast to the slowly unfolding forms of the album’s longest track, the Middle Eastern-influenced Terra.

Closing out with the sparse tumbleweed-strewn vistas of Walvis, Dishwasher_’s full-length debut album is a journey to the outer-reaches of contemporary jazz. In a world where it is increasingly difficult to do anything original, the trio succeed in creating a fresh musical dialect that is uniquely their own.

LINK: Dishwasher at Bandcamp / Artist page at SDBAN

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