Respective Scene has the bass and drums initially lurching in off-kilter lockstep through a light mist of electronics. But as first the piano and then the tenor saxophone join the lockstep unravels and engrossing exchanges build over the simple root material. It is among the highlights on this collaboration between Australia’s Mike Rivett (tenor, electronics) and Japan’s Koichi Sato (piano), Hiroshi Ikejiri (bass) and Ko Omura (drums). Setting the band sound apart is a sense that beneath relatively calm surfaces lurk seething undercurrents.
Although seldom frenetic the music is packed with little dramas, just as it is often edgy but never angry. It provides an ideal context in which to enjoy Rivett’s smoky sound and emotional ambiguities. On It’s Not a Sad Song, for instance, moments of insouciance lighten more melancholy lines that in turn lead to a hint of anguish. Omura is probably the most distinctive player, with a keen ear for injecting surprises into the textures without jarring the grooves, while Sato and Ikejiri lean towards autumnal moods, so the drums seem to be playfully kicking their way through fallen leaves.