Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci


CF 122MEMORIZE THE SKY – In Former Times (CF 122)
A stunning surprise coming from the Portuguese label in the second half of 2008 is this superb album, interpreted by the trio of Matt Bauder (tenor sax, clarinet), Zach Wallace (double bass) and Aaron Siegel (snare drum, bass drum, vibraphone). Memorize The Sky – a gorgeous name for starters – embody that kind of expressive research halfway through jazz, EAI and minimalism which doesn’t stand in a precise spot yet appears extremely firm in its intentions, not to mention aesthetic implications which, in this particular case, are central enough to place the record in the pantheon of private pleasures for different varieties of listener. What I actually mean is that this substance is addictive in a deeper sense, symbolizing a wisdom that comes from within, on both sides of the performer/audience bond. The artists sound genuinely involved, instinctively linked to something higher; the addressees become active witnesses in the gradual progress of a rite where sounds spring from the intuitive nucleus of being more than the machines which produce them.

When instrumentalists manage to catch splinters of infinity without sounding overly distressed or ambiguously abstruse, that’s already an encouraging sign. With In Former Times three individual entities have reached the ideal balance between an ecstatic vision and the earthly qualities of their tools, privileging the droning aspects of fairly static improvisations which nevertheless are alimented by a continuous, literally incessant movement. Bauder’s reeds sing for the naked spirit of overtone heavenliness, comforting in shuddering instability, searching for bygone energies that are still there to retrieve. Wallace’s arco is often utilized with the tremolo technique, generating an ominous steadiness which will finally unveil the most beautiful reward if only one is trustful of those growling frequencies. Siegel delivers a combination of shamanic intensity and masterful control of the dynamics, never lost in indulgent patterns or equivocal trickery, the trio’s real engine in terms of evocative drive. Inexplicable, thoroughly connecting music which we enjoyed time and again in blissful contentment.

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