On CutItOut, reed expert Gebhard Ullmann contains himself to two low-end instruments: bass clarinet and bass flute. This complements Chris Dahlgren’s approach to bass playing, which combines plucking, bowing and using electronics to create a looping, droning pattern. Jay Rosen spends most of the time creating his own textures of ringing sound with cymbals and bells, moving to the trap kit only when it feels appropriate.
The album is divided into two, five-track sections, all of which explore different sonic shapes. “Calling Mr. Waits No. 1” might acknowledge Tom Waits, but to these ears the trio really evokes the sound of a haunted old ship getting smacked against the dock by the waves. “U.S.O. Ballad” lives up to the second part of its name, with Ullman’s bass flute presenting a bluesy, lyrical side.
All tracks but one give credit to all three players, and they all have a pretty spontaneous feel. The other, Dahlgren’s “Lolligager,” has a bass line that sounds lifted from Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.” Occasionally momentum gets lost in dueling drones (“Epilog [Ballad No. 2]”) or repetition of simple riffs (“Calling Mr. Waits No. 2”), but by and large, the group interaction and blend of textures makes CutItOut an enthralling listen.