Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Apophonics - On Air (Weight of Wax, 2013) ****½

By Stef

So were we not aware of this trio when we made this long "sax trio" overview last week? Yes, we were aware of this album, very much so. Yet it requires some special attention. The trio is John Butcher on sax, John Edwards on bass and Gino Robair on percussion (here described as "energised surfaces", which sounds OK too).

The album is the result of various performances given by the trio on the European continent and commissioned by BBC radio, which explains the title "On Air". The band's name is a pun on the word "apophenia" which means seeing patterns where there are none, a mental deficit which affects almost all of us.

What this trio does, is of course totally outside, or even beyond the concept of pattern. Their music emerges, evolves spontaneously, eddies around each other's interventions, flows forward in unexpected directions, and grows as much as it shrinks too at times, with environments changing from stretched tones to moments of short bursts of stuttering voices, intense mini-sounds to amplify silence, birds chattering as if at war, industrial sounds suddenly a welcoming change.

But again, these are images, these are ideas, thought patterns conjured up in the listener's brain. The real thing, the true thing, are just the sounds, unique, meaningless, patternless, unlinked except for the interaction of three men, and those three men themselves put themselves completely at the service of the sounds, vibrating, resonating, echoing, screeching, sizzling, scraping ... going through waves of intensity and volume.

The end result is astounding, because of its effect, its coherence, its inherent beauty.

For listeners with open and fine ears.

Available at Instantjazz.

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