EKE* takes off from free improvisation. This method, in which creative process and sound result coincide, results in a thrilling on the edge experience for both audience and performers. Each player has his own voice in the counterpoint, employing a highly individual musical language that through intensive playing is sharply attuned to the group. Aware of contemporary conceptions EKE focuses on reshaping free improvisation using elements of noise, jazz, 20th century composed music and punk. The result is a dynamic, forward-moving and anarchic audio experience, featuring fresh instant compositions, broad contrasts in length, dynamics and texture, driving rhythms and high energy.
The three band members met in Amsterdam and played for the first time together in September 2007. From the first moment it was obvious that this was not a one-night stand. The flexible trio setting felt right and musical universes expanded. EKE set about playing and developing, including collaborations with the Boucalee Ensemble, and Yedo Gibson’s Royal Improviser’s Orchestra. Concerts followed at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Utrecht Jazz Festival, dOeK Festival, the Loft in Cologne (Germany), and the ZomerJazzFietsTour, culminating in a big tour in Brazil and last years European tour through Germany Slovenia Italy and Austria. EKE is part of the collective of improvising musicians dOeK. EKE has a record out on Red Note: EKE live at the BIM.
The press on EKE:
“Young impro-dogs talking with authority” Koen Schouten, de Volkskrant
“Like a hurricane” Jan Jasper Tamboer, Jazzenzo
“Sound and countersound” Peter Bruyn, Gonzo
“Extreme improvisations underpinned by structure and attentive listening.” Frank van Herk, de Volkskrant
“Hoogland’s clavichord is amplified, tuned an octave low, and used to raunchy effect… from cat’s yowl to video game sound effects.” Kevin Whitehead dOeK, festival report
“Saxophonist Gibson served up rough, resolute, primordial solos” Jaques Los, Draai om je oren
“Jaeger knows the art of constructing a substantial story from a limited amount of material.” Koen van Meel, Kwadratuur
“EKE shows guts” Tim Spranger, de Volkskrant
Kevin Whitehead on EKE’s concert at dOeK festival #7
[…]Oscar Jan Hoogland kicked off the program, Friday 19 December in the Bimhuis, with the trio eke: Brazilian transplant Yedo Gibson on reeds, Gerri Jäger on drums, Hoogland on clavichord, the baroque-era keyboard that allows for key-controlled pitch-bends. But Hoogland’s clavichord is amplified, tuned an octave low, and used to raunchy effect; sometimes he manipulated amplifier feedback like a guitarist. His fellow players also made less than obvious choices. Gibson often made pivotal use of percussive notes popped out of the horn in the manner of a 1920s “gaspipe” clarinetist; at times, these precisely placed rhythms/pitches made him the band’s de facto drummer, if at that moment Jäger elected not to keep time, being engaged with rustling textures. The trio’s loosely organized pieces were distinct from one another, because the players isolate certain strategies on individual pieces. On one number, Hoogland barely touched the keys, using the clavichord as a resonating box to amplify small objects, while Gibson played pressurized notes on soprano with pads closed, and the bell muffled against his calf. On another, Hoogland coaxed sounds from cat’s yowl to video game sound effects from his keyboard. Jäger touched on but didn’t overdo the rock beats; the drummer kept the time open.[…]
Marc Medwin on our CD ‘EKE live at the BIM’ (Red Note)
One of the most refreshing experiences is to hear an instrument that I can’t identify. EKE’s debut has supplied one of these rogue instruments. Is that a detuned guitar, a custom-made bass? In fact, Oscar Jan Hoogland is playing an electric clavichord, the early keyboard instrument that was capable of dynamic changes and some psychedelic note-bending. Oh yes, he takes advantage of all that, and more, often in a haze of distortion. Reedsman Yedo Gibson and drummer Gerri Jager turn in performances that are just as interesting, and there’s not a dull moment on this powerhouse of a disc.
The presence of an audience certainly contributes to the constantly flowing energy on these sessions. There’s no easing into the music here; in fact, we’re hurled headlong into New-Thing squall and scree as the Amsterdam-based trio charges out of the gate on “Block.” The tune functions as a blueprint for the rest of the disc, morphing from the frenetic world of Coltrane’s Interstellar Space to more atomistic abstractions in the space of four minutes. The other tracks plumb the depths of sound and silence. Of particular interest is the opening of “Cone,” which pays a debt to the trail-blazing sounds of late 1960s AMM, even to the extent of including a bit of radio chatter in the mix. It is as if the sound atoms in “Block” have been elongated, forming repetitive rhythmic patterns that never lock into a meter. Gibson’s key clicks and Jager’s brushwork are particularly effective as huge dynamic vistas are explored.
Every area of the pitch spectrum is also fair game, as can be heard on “Gangster’s Funeral March.” Gibson travels to the stratosphere with some high-pitched whines that will set your dog’s teeth on edge as his comrades offer crystalline support, the clavichord evoking unearthly bells and chimes. Not content to stay in that realm, the trio slides into something that builds on Spontaneous Music Ensemble rhetoric without ever sounding cliché. Suffice it to say that Proteus is obviously the muse for this trio’s first outing, and if it’s any indication of things to come, bring it on!
Marc Medwin: The Squid’s Ear, 8 August 2011
“Oscar Jan Hoogland, EKE’s young pianist, played with sympathetic expressiveness and proved to be a musician who doesn’t take himself all too seriously. No tentative rumblings but a big fat sound from his cheap electrically amplified clavichord, a real collectors’ item. Drummer Gerri Jäger rattled out spasmodic interventions. Yedo Gibson pressed his clarinet against his bared calf to produce a muffled squeal. EKE’s got it together.”
Koen Schouten, 23 December 2008: De Volkskrant
* eke ( k)
tr.v. eked, ek·ing, ekes
1. To supplement with great effort. Used with out: eked out an income by working two jobs.
2. To get with great effort or strain. Used with out: eke a bare existence from farming in an arid area.
3. To make (a supply) last by practicing strict economy.