OKKYUNG LEE / PETER EVANS / STEVE BERESFORD – Check For Monsters

Emanem

The irredeemable insurrectional spirit animating the protagonists of these two sets – recorded in New York and Philadelphia in March 2008 – constitutes the axis of Check For Monsters, a CD which presents the bewildering aspects of a trio performance regulated by high-calibre musicianship. Never really exacerbating the inharmonious character of their expression, these artists do the utmost to reach an acceptable balance between a compulsory sense of disrespectfulness for the norm and an exhaustive analysis of the possibilities of the instruments, at least for what concerns the not-overly-extreme regions of timbre; namely, without recurring to preparations and additional dissections of machines that alone are sufficient to guarantee an appreciable degree of pandemonium.

Indeed the musical barometer indicates turbulence more often than not, yet finesse is clearly perceivable all over the program. The three-minded logic that moves “Yinothanot” – almost eighteen minutes of last-chance insinuations and magnificent in-your-face rambling – is explicative of the general approach to this music. Evans is the perennial frontrunner, his trumpets sustaining the attention usually given to a wasp: we’re careful not to be stung when it flies, ready to be fascinated by its colours and features as it walks on a window. Beresford alternates deviously reminiscent phraseologies and eruptive outbursts, somehow managing to hang about the areas of pianism where his charismatic sincerity shines brightly. Lee’s cello sounds elegantly divergent at times, but is frequently and obviously the collating factor of parts which would otherwise tend to a stubborn affirmation of specific rights and needs – which, in improvisation, typically translates into technically advanced incomprehensibleness. “Gwendol Ap Siencyn” begins as a quasi-serialist chamber piece, then turns left to arrive at sonorities halfway through disgruntled incompatibility and genuine eagerness – always with a bitter aftertaste, though.

Arduous listening for the ill-equipped, this is nevertheless a rewarding album under any circumstance, uncompromising music whose unsentimental physiognomy symbolizes the best answer to the fossilization lurking behind the corners of theoretical autonomy.

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