Aros – Train Song (2004)
SACD Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 66:13 minutes | Front/Rear Covers + PDF | 3,71 GB
or DSD64 Stereo (from SACD-ISO to Tracks.dsf) > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Front/Rear Covers + PDF Booklet | 2,62 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (carefully converted & encoded to tracks) 24bit/96 kHz | Front/Rear Covers+PDF Booklet | 1,43 GB
DSD Recording | Features Stereo and Multichannel Surround Sound | Songlines Recordings # SGL SA1546-2
Amsterdam-based Aros is an international sextet co-led by Canadian saxophonist Rob Armus and Austrian classical pianist Marion von Tilzer. Their collective influences and experience notably include American jazz and improvised music, European classical and new music and tango. Imagine, for example, Astor Piazzolla and Philip Glass combining forces to create modal jazz with an occasional nod to free improv. There’s quite a range of moods and styles on this 2004 album, from heartfelt lyrical intimacy to driving soul jazz vamps. Recorded and mixed entirely in DSD, this vibrant recording is Aros’s first North American release.
The title of Aros’ Train Song immediately calls to mind a locomotive’s duple rhythm (chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga), which makes it somewhat ironic that a straight-up duple or triple rhythm is nearly impossible to find on the album. Aros, an Amsterdam-based sextet co-led by saxophonist Rob Armus and pianist Marion von Tilzer, can occasionally drop an infectious beat, as evidenced by Armus’ astringent but danceable ‘Tango.’ Most of the time, however, they choose complex metrical juxtapositions-a winsome 12/8 melody against mercurial 11/8 accompaniment on Von Tilzer’s ‘Song of the Heart,’ Armus multiplying interlocked rhythms in 5 and 6 to make a trudging song titled ’30’-that have some drive but speak more to the head than to the feet.
Armus and Von Tilzer draw mostly cool sonorities from Aros’ combination of trumpet, sax, violin, bass, cello and piano, putting the music at a bit of a remove. Armus, who comes from a jazz background, frequently fills time with Philip Glass-style arpeggios that prove no match for the occasional improvisational outburst, particularly when Armus or trumpeter John Korsrud are improvising. Von Tilzer’s classical background has apparently inspired a more wholehearted embrace of groove; she composed the album’s best track, ‘Ostinato,’ which takes off from a modest piano figure, gradually piles on timbral and harmonic layers and evolves into something forceful and vast.
Still, many of the other tracks on Train Song seem to be stuck halfway between a cerebral and a physical approach, sticking hard to their complex rhythms and never really showing exuberance. I wish Aros would occasionally lay aside the formal innovations and, like their album’s namesake, simply barrel forward.
02. Road Song
03. Four’n a Half
06. Train Song
08. One for Charlie
10. Song of the Heart
11. Rocket Song
Rob Armus – tenor sax
Marion von Tilzer – piano
John Korsrud – trumpet
Anne Wood – violin
Sven Schuster – contrabass
Alan Purves – percussion
Produced by Rob Armus & Marion von Tilzer. Executive Producer: Tony Reif.
Recorded to DSD on November 9-10, 2002 by Frank van der Weij, assisted by Arjen Mensinga, at Wisseloord Studio 1, Hilversum, Holland.
DSD editing by Frank van der Weij and Chris Weeda at Frank van der Weij Studio. Stereo Mix in DSD by Mikel Le Roy at Studio Le Roy, August 18-20, 2003.
Mastered (SBM Direct) by Dawn Frank, Sony SACD Project, Boulder, CO.