Saturday, October 19, 2019

Spill - Stereo (Corvo Records, 2018) ****½

By Stef

What is the link between jazz and cats? Is it the animal's free spirit, its independence and unpredictability? Is it to do with its sense of precision and purpose? In any case, the cat staring from the cover of this album looks exactly like my cat when I was a kid.

Luckily that has no influence on my appreciation of this music, a duet between pianist Magda Mayas and drummer Tony Buck, both based in Berlin and performing as a duo since 2003. This is their third recording - next to a trio with Damon Smith on bass - and it contains two 20' minute tracks, designed for a vinyl production, called "Magnetic Island" and "Sway".

The two musicians create sound environments with pre-recorded elements from live performances with multi-speaker and multi-layered audio, on which they act and react. The music expands slowly and with precision. Despite the various layers, the texture is light and fragile. Every sound counts and has a value of its own in a larger space that still resonates with the traces of previous sounds. The calmness betrays an inherent intensity of contrast and anticipation. The variety of techniques they use to approach their instruments may be resulting in noise according to some, but in fact it's the exact opposite. It is sensual, elegant and refined. Once you immerse yourself in this beautiful and carefully crafted sonic universe, everything else will sound like vulgar noise afterwards.

We can only hope that the duo will release with a higher frequency in the future.

... and yes, they are free-spirited, independent minds with a high dose of unpredictability, as well as a sense of precision and purpose. Like cats. But you already expected this, of course.

Listen and download from Bandcamp.






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