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Saturday, June 1, 2024

Christoph Erb, Magda Mayas & Gerry Hemingway - Hour Music (Veto, 2024) *****

By Stef Gijssels

Two years ago, this brilliant trio already gave me great joy with their sophomore album "Bathing Music". Now, two years later, they have released an even better record in my opinion. I never heard their first album "Dinner Music", released in 2020 so I can't really compare the progress over time, but they have clearly designed their own signature sound. The musicians are Christoph Erb on tenor and soprano saxophones, Magda Mayas on piano, and Gerry Hemingway on drums and percussion. 

The music consists of one very long improvisation, around 45 minutes long, a live performance from September 26th, 2023 at Neubad Luzern, Switzerland, and followed by a 4 minute encore. 

The core piece is absolutely stunning in its fragile and intense co-construction, development and coherence of its voice. The length of the piece really does credit to their art, because it allows for multiple expansions within the same concept. The pace is slow, measured, controlled, allowing the silence and the space to be actively incorporated in the overall sound. All three musicians use their instruments in a minimalistic way, with limited voice or volume, yet with a maximalist use of timbral explorations. The small, precise and unexpected sonic bits create a sound environment that is organic and welcoming. The trio generates a universe that is shifting constantly, like a kaleidoscope of sound, but slowly and with an intensity and creativity that is maintained from beginning to end. Some moments, and definitely in the middle part when  Hemingway increases the volume of his drumming, and when Erb switches to tenor, are a little louder and more extraverted. Yet the whole time, the music is fresh, deep, captivating. The quality of the overall sound, which is guaranteed to grab the attention from the listener from beginning to end, is the result of the incredible interaction between the three musicians, who are at the top of their skills. They really act and interact as one, with at times hard to discern the instruments or attribute the sources of the unexpected sounds. 

It may require some experienced ears to fully enjoy it, but once you're in their universe, it's extremely addictive. I've listened to it dozens of times over the last few weeks, even pushing back some other music, because of the joy of listening to this. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp


Anonymous said...

What an enticing review! Perfect music for summer.