TRIO SOWARIThird Issue
PHYSICAL | CD
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On their new album Third Issue Trio Sowari continues its musical investigation of asymmetric structures and multilayered ambiguities. Gravitation, Suspension, Exploration and finally Levitation, the four tracks on this CD present different fields of interactive possibilities. No signs of dystopianism or retrotopianism here, but undaunted and spirited ways of facing a complex and bewildering present. Bertrand Denzler on tenor saxophone, Burkhard Beins on percussion with Phil Durrant now also involving a modular next to his software synthesizer, which contributes some additional grain to the group’s sound.
Impossible to believe that ten years have slipped away from Trio Sowari’s previous release, the impressive Shortcut on Jacques Oger’s Potlatch imprint. Phil Durrant, Burkhard Beins and Bertrand Denzler embody the type of unyielding unit that could be entitled to produce a new album every six months, and I’d be perfectly content. However, authentic wisdom is nourished by a profound respect of silence; what is told after that silence becomes consequential in a process of real development. Accordingly, Third Issue may break a lengthy intermission in terms of discography, but its characteristics and meanings enfold all the experiences occurred in the meantime to the players, their intuitions now enriched by additional sagacity.
The coalescence of synthesizers, percussion and saxophone also delineates the individual textural settings. The dissimilarity of the sonic waves is of course evident, yet the multiplex integrity of the emerging music is (forgive the commonplace) a thing of beauty. The group ideally promotes the “let the sounds dictate the pace” theory; better still if the participants share a vision, which in the case of TS coincides with the term “improvement”. Nary a moment in these four tracks contains formularized sonorities; the organic qualities are directly proportional to a penetrating intricacy which, in turn, enhances the sympathetic listener’s responsiveness. This happens notwithstanding the artists’ proficiency in melting voices and merging sources. For example, try and separate synthetic and acoustic emissions at the beginning of “Suspension”; as a severe drone inexorably advances we picture a sequence of wordless events, a concatenation of “frequency frames” somehow flowing into a bigger undercurrent. This piece, though, is an exception of sorts given that the foremost “Sowari sound” derives from a hands-on investigation of the spaces between innumerable dynamic turns. Ultimately, tangible matters and vivid timbres become deprived of an owner: maintaining the ongoing flux is the rule of thumb. The musicians always manage to do this, with results often verging on the amazing.
Intense concentration and earnest sharing during a performance give birth to a loss of the self, especially when the only relevant science – that of vibrational propagation – is taught with such austere modesty. Strike another five-star record for these gentlemen, in the hope that I won’t be already departed when the next chapter is published.
On these discs Betrand Denzler is either composer or performer. For no other reason than it's a CD (and that is surely no valid reason) I started with the release by Trio Sowarei, which is Denzler on tenor saxophone, Phil Durrant on modular and software synthesizers and Burkheid Beins on percussion and objects. It has been a while since I last heard music by Trio Sowari (Vital Weekly 648), but I gather these are very busy people, performing around the globe all the time, so it might take some time before they meet each other again. Two days in July 2016 in Berlin was enough to get the show on the road again and recorded four excellent pieces that defy such notions as improvisation, composition, electro-acoustic music or musique concrete. It is all, perhaps quite rightfully so, quite blurred and as clear-cut as it could be. But that's how things should be of course. Both Denzler and Beins play their instruments like they are supposed, i.e. one can recognize them as such, but also use extended different techniques and approaches to them and make it sound unlike drums or saxophone. Durrant's input here is of course anyway different than, simply because one doesn't always know what a modular and software synthesizer is supposed to sound like. It peeps and it cracks, and that's not just Durrant, but something they are all responsible for and there is some wonderful interaction between all the sounds everyone's producing. It can be loud, it can be quiet, often within the space of a few seconds, or for extended times, such as the moody and mysterious piece 'Levitation'; it can be short and abrupt or spaced out, yet always with a fine dialogue among the players. Every listens, everyone responds or keeps quiet and when needed there are a quick interference and the conversation changes. This is a fine release and these men should meet more often.