KODIAN TRIO by Shaun Cullen
photo by Shaun Cullen 2015.

Some are building directly on the foundations of pioneers like Evan Parker, John Stevens and Derek Bailey, while others are always on the lookout for fresh, contemporary sounds, or try to combine them. But they’re all united by a similar curiosity, a search for finding their own voices and a never-ending reinvention of themselves. This also seems to be the case with the brand new Kodian Trio of Andrew Lisle, Dirk Serries and Colin Webster. While they first played together as members of a quartet with Amsterdam-based saxophone player John Dikeman and recorded two albums in April of 2015 (a live album that appeared on Webster’s Raw Tonk Records and a double studio album on New Wave Of Jazz), the trio reconvened for a studio session at the end of October that same year.

Kodian Trio’s debut release immediately makes a strong case for these guys’ adaptive skills, as the results here are recognizably theirs, but also very different from the releases with John Dikeman. It sounds as if all three of them even widened their range and dynamics to compensate for the loss of a colleague. Serries is more assertive, sometimes front and center of the collective. Webster also brought his alto and tenor saxophones to the studio. And Lisle also goes way beyond the usual abstractionism, using pretty extreme textures one moment and offering a forceful attack the next .

This is free music that actually lives up to its ambitions and frequently uses its maximum potential for individual and collective freedom, while at the same time maintaining a coherence that only becomes apparent with repeated and/or intense listening. It requires an effort, but the rewards are an insight into a unique musical language.

the three confidently navigate their way through real-time improvisations scalding to the touch. Yes, blistering episodes surface—dissonant squeals from Dikeman, prickly shards from Serries, and volatile flourishes by Lisle—but so too do fleeting moments of calm as the trio brings a unified sensibility to the undertaking. With the exception of the surprisingly restrained fifteen-minute closer “III,” I catches the trio breathing communal fire: imagine forty-six minutes of bristling, molten improv and you’re in the right ballpark. I offers compelling exercises in musical democracy.” Textura – Canada

Kodian Trio biedt de luisteraar geen hapklare brokken muziek, maar levert met ‘I’ een ruwe, wringende en stompende plaat af die om veelvoudige beluistering vraagt alvorens het muzikaal gebodene volledig op waarde kan worden geschat. Hoeveel de muzikanten soms ook tegen elkaar in lijken te musiceren, steeds blijft – soms op onnavolgbare wijze – de  controle behouden. In de ontoegankelijke, bij tijd en wijle abstracte muziek ligt een flinke dosis inventivieit en subtiliteit verscholen van drie uitblinkende vrije impro-musici.Opduvel – The Netherlands

These musicians are far too talented to simply go hell for leather or indulge in macho noise grandstanding. Instead, their noise-making has an intricacy and control while still sounding spontaneous and raw. Webster tends to avoid the obvious low end raunch of the baritone, using its sheer physicality to lend force to high register squalls and breath effects. His introduction of the alto sax halfway through the third side is an unexpected delight, as he embarks on a bright, Eastern European tinged solo over some of Lisles’s most energetic and inventive drumming. The long drones and deconstructed funk of the final side bring further evidence of this trio’s resourcefulness and imagination.The Quietus – UK

London based saxophonist Colin Webster is quickly establishing himself on the European avant garde scene. Working with a broad range of collaborators, Webster is known for working from extreme sonic palettes  – from minimal to maximal, constantly pushing boundaries.  Webster first worked with Serries on the landmark ‘Endless Voids’ performance led by Dead Neanderthals at the 2014 Incubate Festival. Since this initial meeting, the two have worked on different collaborations both live and in the studio, a number of these encounters involving the drummer Andrew Lisle.

Also based in London, Andrew Lisle’s quick and highly textural playing is making him highly in-demand in the fertile improvisation community. In turns both propulsive and abstract, Lisle has worked with a number of key UK-based improvisers including Alex Ward, Daniel Thompson, Seymour Wright, and also plays in Roland Ramanan’s Tentet, and punk-improv band Shatner’s Bassoon.

Dirk Serries – curator of the A New Wave of Jazz label – is hardly your average improvising musician. Even though the man has a fondness for the classic free jazz of the sixties and seventies and the current updates, his own talents lie elsewhere. As a master of texture, a skill which he’s been able to forge and refine for more than 30 years (as vidnaObmana, Fear Falls Burning, Microphonics, with collaborative projects and, more recently, under his own name), he has always been involved in the more abstract, or sound-oriented wing of experimental music. Serries is now less reliant on his trademark effects and loops. A new ‘naked’ language that veers from gentle strumming to scribbling, pointillism and occasional outbursts of disjointed howls. Pulling from his great experience in the worlds of ambient and industrial music, as well as from masters like Derek Bailey, Serries’ approach is improvisation that relies purely on his relationship with his electric guitar, prepared or not.