Debre Damo Dining Orchestra
Debre Damo Dining Orchestra [7-inch; self-released]

The Debre Damo Dining Orchestra are a Copenhagen-based Afro-jazz ensemble who’ve just self-released their debut single, a gleefully anachronistic two-sider that blends the raw tenor slink of Hans Dulfer, plugged-in Ethiopian jazz of Mulatu Astatke, and drone-heavy psychedelic processionals. Fronted by saxophonist Søren Lyhne Skov, the group as it is on this record (there is some variance) also features organist Peder Mertner Vind, bassist Andreas Halberg and percussionist Matthias Arbo Klein (F.W. Smolls). One usually thinks of jazz and improvised music as the realm of LPs and CDs, at least when we’re talking about documentation, but in Scandinavian jazz EPs and singles have been a pretty common medium since the Fifties.

Skov’s tone is hard-bitten and sinewy, with a graininess that wouldn’t sound out of place on any number of avant-garde releases; alto and tenor are overdubbed in the thematic sections and as an accent in “Yesega Wat,” and in three minutes there’s not a ton of stretching room, but Skov certainly establishes himself as a heavy blower against a steady and condensed rhythm section. After a bit of heel digging, Vind enters with brief and particulate organ flourishes, but the piece wraps up as quickly as it began. The flip, “Minem Aydelem,” is a fuzzy analog down-tempo number, dry laconic beat and vibrato-heavy organ pulses augmented by pillowy saxophone lines, with Klein’s array of cymbal clatter in sharp contrast to a heady stew. Steely tenor rises out of the murk for a few brief yelps, and this isn’t an entirely atmospheric piece by dint of its audible tautness. The music on this single wouldn’t have sounded at all out of place in a Scandinavian basement club nearly forty years ago, and it’s heartening to know that there’s probably quite a bit more where these tracks came from – consider your appetite whetted.

(NOTE: Video is NSFW)


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