After two albums on Maya, the super trio of Mats Gustafsson on tenor and alto fluteophone, Barry Guy on bass and Raymond Strid on drums, took on the name of the second album, "Tarfala", and is touring Europe this summer. I unfortunately missed them when they came to Belgium in May, but the good thing is that we now get this fantastic double vinyl LP with 7" EP and booklet, equally recorded in Belgium, two years ago, as a comforting substitution.
Although it must be said that comfort is the last thing that crosses your mind and body, when listening to this fabulous trio.
The trio creates a world of urgent little sounds, full of eager anticipation, surprise and fast response. There is hardly any volume, no screaming, no violence, just the dynamics of a mountain river, light, fast and crystal clear, moving forward without choice. How the currents will flow is unpredictable and chaotic, yet coherent and focused. At times the speed picks up, or slows down, .... but that's where the metaphor meets its limits.
Next to the dynamics, there are the emotions, no doubt the most hard to describe, and the most difficult aspect of the playing, and no doubt this trio's strongest asset. Nobody in the world can scream like Gustafsson, in long heartrending wails, bringing the long built-up tension to a level or relief, or release, or increasing agony, depending on how you listen. Guy's playing is as usual, oscillating between extreme precision and maverick madness, with Strid demonstrating the art of modern percussion, and critical to the overall sound, with little accents and colorings, yet equally driving the music forward when needed. And the three of them together ... well that's some kind of magic, moving you through a wide variety of sonic landscapes.
In sum, a music of contrasts : raw and vulnerable, sensitive and harsh, coherent and adventurous, energetic and contained, yet full of incredible passion.
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