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Friday, December 16, 2022

Great Waitress - back, before (Splitrec, 2022)

By Keith Prosk

Laura Altman, Monica Brooks, and Magda Mayas play two live environments for clarinet, accordion, and piano on the 44’ back, before.

This is Great Waitress’ fourth record and a return to the Splitrec label after their 2011 debut, Lucid. Altman and Brooks also appear together on As Is , Jason Kahn’s Open Space with Chris Abrahams, Matt Earle, Kahn, Rishin Singh, Adam Sussman, Aemon Webb, and John Wilton, and the split Surface Noise Vol. 8 from Shame File Music.

The reverberant performance space makes the air thick and heavy and quiet, sporadic sounds in clusters and clouds ripple through for tensive atmospheres. The accordion is a kind of bridge to keyboard and wind and this spectrum of instrumental material manifests in their breadth of approaches. Piano can sound more lamellophone than a harp’s rich decay, accordion rattles and crumples, and clarinet chirps in tropical warbles for discrete movements but can chime, sigh, and breathe in sustain together for beating harmonic interactions. Texture becomes tethered to rhythm and melody and harmony begin to feel the same at different scales. At every level limen dissolve and their haze creates a sense of dream states.



It should be said that Splitrec has a not so big but excellent catalogue of free improvisational recordings. Especially ineresting is the In Weather Volume 1 quartet (which comes also on vinyl), the label's latest output//