Hazel is the fifth record from Æthenor, the group of eclectic travelers that includes Stephen O’Malley (SunnO))), KTL), Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, This is Not This Heat, Grumbling Fur, etc), Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver), and Steve Noble (Brötzmann Trio, N.E.W.). Together they bring their considerable pedigrees into play with unexpected and original results. Contradicting expectations of a massive blow-out of sound, everyone plays with remarkable, effective restraint. Atmospheric and layered, this latest release features bits and pieces of identifiable rock-moves peeking out from under a thick blanket of hard-to-identify drift. Based on live recordings made on a lengthy tour of Italy in 2010, Hazel has been extensively edited and supplemented, but without losing the elemental sound of a group playing live together. Though there’s plenty of weird ambient sound to be heard, this isn’t a soundeffects / “pedalboard” record. Like the previous En Form for Bla, Noble’s drums anchor the music with spare and considered playing, sometimes lashing out with abstract punctuation, and other times laying out a Can-like groove. O’Malley’s guitar is also restrained, providing a bed for O’Sullivan’s constantly morphing Rhodes, synths and electronic effects. Kristoffer Rygg contributes a rousing vocal incantation to “Ermanna” and peppers the mix with ghostly modular details. Æthenor’s catalog continues to be not like anything else out there right now. Sleeve designed by Stephen O’Malley.