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Friday, December 2, 2022

Christoph Erb, Magda Mayas & Gerry Hemingway Trio - Bathing Music (Veto, 2022)

By Stef Gijssels

When you like music that shimmers and vibrates with timbral impressionistic sensitivities, touching on pointillistic fragile soundscapes, you will love this album. 

The trio is Christoph Erb on tenor and soprano, Magda Mayas on piano, and Gerry Hemingway on drums, voice and controlled feedback. Erb has been very active as an artist in Luzern, Switzerland, where he created his own Veto label, and where both Mayas and Hemingway at one time (or still?) taught music at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. You can find an introduction to Erb here, in a review by Martin Schray. An interview with Magda Mayas by Keith Prosk can be found here. No need to introduce Hemingway of course.

The music appears on vinyl, and that explains the relatively short length of twenty minutes on each side, with four tracks in total, a synthesis of a live performance in October 2020. It predates their other trio album, called "Dinner Music", also released on Veto, with just four days. 

The music trembles in intensely vibrating interaction between instruments and space and silence, and conjures up atoms and slivers of sound, arising out of nowhere, sliding into each other as if they were so predestined, while at the same time surprising us, listeners, with new sounds, new perspectives, new aural vistas. The liner notes to "Dinner Music" describe the sound well: "There are long passages where it’s easy to forget that instruments are involved, but never a moment when one wouldn’t want to listen". 

The title tracks also give an indication on the nature of the music: "The Sourrounding Shore", "Under Water Falling", "Mist That Whispers", "Drifting In Morning Rain". It is almost impossible to assess which instrument makes which sounds, and the effort will only detract you from listening. It's unique quality is the mesmerising worlds they create, the coherence of the sonic fabric, that sparkles, scintillates, wavers, oscillates, sending quivers of excitement to the audience that can unfortunately not be heard itself. 

The artistic vision and the technical skills to accomplish it are exceptional, and the album is easy to recommend. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp.


gomad361 said...

A nice review Stef, also one of my favorites this year.