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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kirk Knuffke, Federico Ughi, Chris Welcome - Garden Of Gifts (577 Records, 2009) ****½

Drummer Federico Ughi created with the 577 Records label a series of great albums with like-minded spirits such as Daniel Carter and Ras Moshe. On this album he is joined by trumpeter Kirk Knuffke and guitarist Chris Welcome, two upcoming musicians with a style of their own, but working in the tradition of Other Dimensions In Music (if that exists!), with long slowly elaborated pieces that explore sounds, moods and interaction. The slowness gives the music a sad, sometimes spiritual or contemplative feeling, while the open interaction leads to surprises and creative exchanges. Even if rhythm and melody are unclear, the music is relatively accessible, without shock element, or too much use of extended techniques of the instruments, whose basic sound is the norm here, with the musicians most of the time trying to play as quiet as possible. The nice thing about the music is to be found in the openness of the texture, the feeling that anything is possible, yet at the same time the three musicians to their utmost to play in a very restrained and focused way. The overall effect is almost organic in nature, without any straight lines or repetitive elements, in contrast with most man-made constructions, with sounds flowing in reaction to other sounds, like water finding its way through rocks, like leaves growing in many directions, but still growing on the same stem. Their total lack of urgency, especially their sublime use of silence and knowing when not to play, especially exemplified in the last track, gives the music a soft, meditative quality, appreciative of the moment itself, of the sound, of the creation, but then one with sufficient tension and vital force to make it all very captivating. A beautiful and very free-spirited album.

Listen to an excerpt from "Fall Extended"

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© stef


Unknown said...

I ham lucky enough to play with Federico and Daniel, which is a truly remarkable experience. What I find even more interesting is that if I remove myself from that bias of having the experience of playing with them, I am still left being moved and transformed by the music. I wish them, and everyone at 577 the success they deserve.