Released: April 2021
Label: Village Live
Berlin-based Jazz obsessives Aver & Move 78 present ‘The Algorithm Smiles Upon You’ - a shimmering combination of improvised jams, post-production instrumentation, splicing, sampling and sound design.
Aver has been producing experimental Hip Hop since 2004, releasing his first E.P independently on vinyl. In 2017 he signed with Village Live and released 'Die Berlin Dateien' and then ‘Dressed for CCTV’ for which he recruited keyboard player Doran Segal and drummer Nir Sabag to interpret some of his compositions into a more Jazz orientated style for live shows. With the final addition of bassist Hal Strewe, Move 78 were formed.
‘The Algorithm Smiles Upon You’ however represents a shift in which Aver has meticulously combined hours of the trio jamming into 8 coherent tracks, with the high points being rearranged and repeated. Delays, strings, horns and flute have been layered on top in post-production creating a highly sophisticated amalgamation of the repetitive and the improvised reminiscent of the great David Axelrod.
I must confess, in order to accurately review the project I have had to spend many hours with it, returning to certain tracks to capture what has been looped, and to enjoy post-production effects. The use of delay throughout is simply remarkable - it acts at once as a choral vibrato for the keys, an ocean of endless oscillations beneath the instruments, and at times as a warbling bending of pitch. All the musicians present are nothing short of stellar. Ambiguous electric piano, strange distorted sound design and slight delay drum shuffle blend with uncomplicated but beautifully executed strings in opening track ‘Faye.’ Sincere yet laid back basslines are sonically enhanced and subdued as necessary, at times with the tone rolled all the way off only to be countered by a very 60’s plucked clarity.
The sensational saxophone of Omri Abramov in 3rd track ‘Housecat’ gives way to a complete dissolving of the original groove, returning as a minimised motif in the track’s second act which is then twisted beyond recognition for its final moments. Flute and brass from Roy Amotz and Merav Goldman appear in bursts throughout 4th track ‘Daisies’ amidst smatterings of strings from Geoff Kemback so subtle you’d barely notice them, the rhythm section really gets into its stride here and exhibits a glorious polyrhythmic conversation.
The quintessentially Jazz guitar in 6th track ‘Pearls Before Swine’ and the project’s final tracks portray a deeper understanding of the genre's history. The classic piano presence in 7th track ‘Sanctuary’ is played with all the sensitivity and wisdom of a dying breath, and final track ‘Normal Jazz’ utilises the timeless 'walking' bassline and gently wailing BeBop sax. A highlight of the year for me, Aver & Move 78’s ‘The Algorithm Smiles Upon You’ has set the bar for meticulousness, sensitivity and musicianship - and the moment I can get to Berlin I will endeavour to catch what will undoubtedly be an even more illuminating live show.