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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stone Quartet - Live At Vision Festival (Ayler, 2011) ****½

 By Stef

On their second release, "The Stone Quartet" continues their ephemeral study of fleeting sounds, as on their debut album "DMG@The Stone". The word "debut" is a little bizarre for such seasoned musicans as Joëlle Léandre on double bass, Roy Campbell on trumpet and flutes, Marilyn Crispell on piano, and Mat Maneri on viola.

All four have been instrumental in giving shape to avant-garde music in the last decades, and they continue to do so on this album. Without being rooted in the ground, due to the absence of percussion, the overall sound evolves like waves in a stream, with phrases colliding and contrasting, yet all moving in the same direction. The second element that strikes the listener is the absolute avoidance of predictability, yet without sounding too unfamiliar either.The third aspect is the timbral explorations, especially by Mat Maneri on his viola, bringing different sounds, changing the expectations, yet adding to it too, meaningfully, emotionally. Last but not least, there is the incredible sense of pace, quite slow, yet determined, creating eery soundscapes, full of longing and inherent tension between the four instruments.

Again, a captivating listening experience. Léandre, Crispell, Campbell and Maneri in a joint top-performance.

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© stef