Album Appreciation: Forest Binary by Forest Binary

A while ago I wrote about Dave De Rose’s ‘Agile Experiments’ project, essentially four albums of totally improvised music in which De Rose worked with a number of musicians that he has come to know over the years in London and Athens. The results to my ears were always stunning, with what appeared to be people who quickly got into each other’s heads to create a vibe and a groove that was irresistible.

With ‘Forest Binary’ De Rose (bass) has gone one step further and got together with musicians for the first time and really just let rip. This time is was a German, Gustav Penka (drums), who made the call and with his countryman Marius Mathiszik (guitar/Fx/samples) and Greek Dimitris Kalousis (keys/turntable/Fx); the four of whom have combined brilliantly to create the four tracks showcased on this album.

Simply named Side A, B C and D (although they occupy two sides of vinyl) these tracks are a glorious and fresh mix of the weird and wonderful… with these musicians playing as if they have been together a lot longer than they actually have.

What I think makes this work is that there is no cleaving to genre in this music, you get the feeling that this quartet have gone into the session with no preconceived ideas of what they are going to produce. This, I think, is where this freshness comes from… there is also a lightness to the playing, despite the fact that there are some dark themes explored here.

To try and separate these tracks out into a narrative would, on this occasion, be fruitless; so I would invite you to take a listen to what is a heady mix of experimental and free jazz, drones, beats and noise. This is a set that is far more reliant on electronics that ‘Agile Experiments’… much further away from what I was imagining before I began listening to this… it is music where all four sonic providers are given space to make their contribution… it does not feel like there is much ego being displayed here.

‘Forest Binary’ is perfect for our age where cultural fragmentation seems to be rife… it takes those fragments and puts them together into something coherent… Forest Binary are a sort of ‘pop up’ band who came together and then dissolved into the ether once more… we are lucky, however, that the fruits of their brief formulation are preserved for us all to listen too… I thoroughly recommend that you do this.

‘Forest Binary’ is available from Fortune Cut Records on very limited vinyl and download here.



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