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Saturday, November 15, 2014

'A' Trio - Live In Nickelsdorf (Roaratorio, 2013) ****

By Stef

The "A" Trio are Mazen Kerbaj on trumpet, Sharif Sehnaoui on acoustic guitar, and Raed Yassin on doublebass, three musicians well known from the Lebanese Al Maslakh label, now featuring on this limited edition LP from Roaratorio. What the trio does is amazing. They create a sonic universe well beyond the known possibilities of their instruments, and nobody (nobody!) could guess which instruments are being played if I had not already disclosed it. It is noise, it is minimal yet dense at the same time, played with a sense of urgency that is familiar to rock music, but then without the bluntness and the fixed rhythm. It sounds like sirens urging you on, to move to act to do something while at the same time stopping you in your tracks because the music (?) is spell-binding and paralysing too, taking the power out of your muscles, weakening your legs.

It is fearful. Listen to the howls of the trumpet after thirteen minutes, or to the uncanny layers of screeching sounds that end the ominous first side. The second track, on side two, start with a strange rhythmic pattern of circling bowed bass and repetitive trumpet phrases that sound like a sax, deepening the intensity of the music, moving the sounds forward in an almost unavoidable way, beyond choice. It is terrifying with intensity, raw, direct and compelling, and the finale is absolutely hypnotic in its relentless violent drive.

This is an excellent album with music that is not easy, but listeners with open ears and strong hearts will appreciate its musical quality and emotional power.

Available from Instantjazz.