What’s especially appealing about Polar Sounds is how Acrepearls treats their melodies after they’ve been crafted. The trio keeps the melodies simple, short and to the point. They are each pretty in their own way, and very focused… as if a solitary raindrop were meant to only capture a solitary ray of sunlight and nothing more. But once that melody is set free, pianist Nicolas Schulze, drummer Thomas Leisner and saxophonist Kai Mader jostle it with waves of electronics, nudge it forward with staggered tempos, let it glide over serene waters, and sometimes bring a turbulence to those same waters with bursts of dissonance. The resultant motion from these actions results is an illusory reshaping of the melodies… obscuring some aspects of them, skewing the attention to one aspect of the melody, and sometimes setting it to resonate at a frequency quite different than that which first accompanied its arrival. “Boyz” is the approximation of excited dance in a tranquil environment. The disjointed locomotion of “Homeopathic” gives the sense of a melody attempting to take two separate paths. The slippery tempo of “Minsk” is the sonic equivalent of running up the down escalator.
But the album is at its strongest when it charts a course through serene environments. “Lonesome Floeways” is a lullaby out on the prowl for sleepy heads. The slow build of tension on “Foggy cold-air in the valleys and depressions” shows how rising volumes can add intensity to the expression without subtracting from the strength of the tranquility. And the combination of an erratic drone and a sing-song melody on title-track “Polar Sounds” is absolutely mesmerizing.
Some massively arresting moments on this gorgeous recording.
Your album personnel: Thomas Leisner (drums, drumsynth), Nicolas Schulze (piano, analog synth) and Kai Mader (tenor saxophone, loops).