Erik Hove at Dièse Onze (Stanley Clarke Jr. / JNO49)
Erik Hove – Soundclash
June 13, 2008, 10pm
Last night alto saxophonist Erik Hove and his group, Soundclash, anchored the first night of the OFF Festival de Jazz de Montréal (OFJM) at Dièse Onze. With tunes like “Sleep and Dreams,” “Interconnectivity,” “Gift of Gab,” and “Witching Hour,” it was indeed a night of sound clashes and refreshingly challenging music.
Osby-esque, angular, avant-garde, modern, groove-based, humorous, hyper-rhythmic, motivic, hip-hop influenced—these are some of the words that describe Hove’s compositions and playing. The name Soundclash is well chosen; if there is a common thread, it is that Hove is influenced by diverse strands of music. Of course, this can be said of many contemporary musicians, but it is less subtle in the collection of compositions played last night.
Hove is backed by a solid rhythm section in drummer Martin Auguste and ubiquitous bassist Fraser Hollins. It was nice to see the interaction between the two: eye contact, nods, smiles—always a good sign.
Turntablist Paolo Kapunan, a.k.a. P-Love, was responsible for the “urban sounds” touted in the OFJM’s program description. Samples ranged from A Tribe Called Quest to dub to atmospheric sound effects. Personally, I preferred P-Love’s work on darker pieces like “Sleep and Dreams” with its unison lines, twelve-tone vibe and off-kilter groove. Or, when he echoes Hove’s horn melodies on the angular “Hand Basket.” Also, there was a tune towards the end of the second set, reminiscent of John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” where the crackling sound effects of P-Love’s two-octave turntable had the audience holding its breath.
Sounclash is a tight, well-rehearsed group. As a soloist, Hove is intense and imaginative—not as controlled as one of his mentors, Greg Osby, but no less thought-provoking.