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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Great Waitress - Lucid (Split Records, 2011) ****

By Stef

I coined the term "silenscapes" recently to describe the minimalist music when referring to the music of Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr, and this also describes German pianist Magda Mayas music quite well. I loved her "Heartland", which is louder and darker.

"Great Waitress" is a trio, with Mayas on piano, Monika Brooks on accordion and Laura Altman on clarinet, and their music is featherlike, with soft sounds cautiously weaving a calm but intense silenscape. The titles of the various tracks give an indication of this lightness : "Breath", "Drifting Needles", "Lucid", "Dusted Birds On Furnished Trees", "Grain". Yet it is not easy-listening, the music is edgy and direct, despite its low volume and apparent inobtrusiveness.

Fragile and solid at the same time. Like touching the wings of a butterfly, it is almost as risky and daring to listen to this music, as your personal volume and sound could harm what you hear.

Lucid by Mayas, Brooks, Altman

Magda Mayas & Anthea Caddy - Schatten (Dromos Records, 2011) ****

The first thing that strikes you with this album is the unusual artwork by Nádia Duvall, with all 250 covers being handmade of crepe paper and wax, a combination of different materials, light and heavy, light and dark, and somewhat unpredictable and fragile, all illustrating the nature of the music quite well.

Schatten brings the interplay between Mayas on piano and Anthea Caddy on cello, offering a similar minimalist approach, yet somewhat darker and ominous, with heavier sounds and more percussive effects, which creates a totally different dynamic to the music. The sonic textures are all about timbre and space and interaction, and even if at moments it is hard to identify what or who the source is of the sounds you hear, the result is quite captivating.

Madga Mayas & Anthea Caddy - Schatten (preview) by DromosRecords

© stef


Wojtek said...

"as your personal volume and sound could harm what you hear" - what a nice metaphor Stef.
You have a rare talent of capturing the essence of music.
I never heard Magda Mayas but your "ars poetica" convinced me to give it a try.

best regards


Richard said...

I think the term "silencescape" is excellent. I hope it catches on. From your previous batch of reviews, I picked up "Silencers - Balance Des Blancs". I find it really extraordinary to listen to. I have to be in a very specific mood, but it is very rewarding when I am.

These should be interesting, since it is a very different instrumentation.