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Niklas Barnö, Joel Grip & Didier Lasserre - Can't Stop Snusing

Stuart Kremsky, The IAJRC Journal

Can’t Stop Snusing presents a series of penetrating « triologues » by the intense ensemble of Niklas Barnö, Joel Grip & Didier Lasserre, the follow-up to Snus, also on Ayler Records. Trumpeter Niklas Barnö squeezes out notes in full consciousness of the interaction of air and metal, while Joel Grip’s bass throbs and flutters. Meanwhile Didier Lasserre’s seemingly random drum beats and glowing cymbals rattle around. Sometimes the three cooperate, sometimes they battle, but they always manifest a seriously playful attitude and commitment to the moment. A long piece like Deciding runs the gamut from perilously quiet and very slow moving to flat-out blowing at a galloping tempo. In its controlled frenzy, Surrendering is an impressively sustained collective improvisation. The finale, Awakening, offers the trio at their jazziest, with Barnö’s sound cleaner than usual in a generally upbeat and surging structure that sandwiches a long and idiosyncratic bass solo between two long stretches led by the trumpeter. This session was recorded in a lively and reverberant space, which complements the exposed and often vulnerable feel of these open-ended improvisations. Raw and personal as this music is, at times it feels like eavesdropping on an extended discussion among slightly argumentative comrades. Their methods lead to the occasional longueurs, but by and large one or another of the players recognizes the situation and shoots the music off into a new direction. Fascinating and absorbing music.