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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Susan Alcorn / Leila Bordreuil / Ingrid Laubrock - Bird Meets Wire (Relative Pitch, 2021) ****½

By Eyal Hareuveni

Bird Meets Wire brings together an unlikely trio of fearless improvisers - pedal steel visionary Susan Alcorn, noise cellist Leila Bordreuil and sax player Ingrid Laubrock for a mostly free-improvised session, captured at The Thousand Caves studio in Queens, New York, in April 2018. The intriguing and highly suggestive music of this trio extends the open and inclusive sonic vision of Alcorn, expressed already in her composition 'The Heart Sutra' (arranged by cellist Janel Leppin, Ideologic Organ, 2020), her trio with Joe McPhee and Ken Vandermark (Invitation to a Dream, Astral Spirits, 2019), and her quintet (Pedernal, Relative Pitch, 2020).

This trio has been playing together since 2015 and has developed organic, intimate and emphatic dynamics, but also dynamics that also search for mysterious and unpredictable territories, as the suggestive titles of the pieces tell. In the meantime, Alcorn and Laubrock collaborated again in the recording of Mary Halvorson Octet (Away With You, Firehouse 12, 2016).

Alcorn, Bordreuil and Laubrock sketch patiently on the opening piece “Area 41” a vulnerable yet unsettling abstract drone that weaves together the processed sounds of the cello, quiet whispers and breaths of Laubrock and the sustained, Americana-like lines of Alcorn. The following title piece takes this kind of intimate, yet tense interplay into a delicate, ethereal dance. “Is Is Not” is a free-associative piece where Alcorn, Bordreuil and Laubrock experiment with adventurous, distorted and noisy tonal searches.

The gentle, hypnotic-meditative atmosphere of “Topology of Time” introduces the beautiful, lyrical and clearly introspective adaptation of the iconic Chilean protest song “¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!” (The people united will never be defeated, with music by Sergio Ortega) in “Cañones”. “The Fourth World” deepens this fragile, atmospheric spirit and suggests a series of minimalist, melodic veins that morph naturally into the straight-forward yet reserved version of the American folk song “Wayfarin' Stranger”.

In the sonic universe in which Alcorn, Bordreuil and Laubrock travel through, there are no borders, but there are many fascinating colors, and a bright land that invites us all to immerse into its many delights.


Tony Simon said...

Great review, and a beautiful recording. Eerie and serene, like a warm vertigo. Hope to hear more from this trio!