The Middle Distance is an intriguing proposition in terms of orchestration. Two pianos and a double bass warrant a definite shift of the timbral balance towards the low frequency region, a zone that is perhaps more conductive than anything else as far as concealed transmissions to the psyche of a listener are concerned. Furthermore, the indecision between insecurity and protection – a feeling occasionally elicited by the authority of bigger instruments – should definitely be considered whenever the circumstances drive a sonority down where the heartbeat tends to decelerate.
Burn, Thomas and Fell discard large chunks of the above theory, though. They do employ what’s necessary to let us not forget about the ideal range of execution of their tools. Engrossing snapshots of burly reverberation from the viscera of the pianos, mixed with Fell’s remarkably unyielding performance, really give the idea of an instant cathedral being edified upon our heads. However, the trio manages to occupy different spaces: non-invasive preparations, together with a lucid use of the instrumental extremities, often counterbalance the subsonic impetus in interesting fashion. “Not With The Fire In Me Now” presents a series of illustrations in which the interplay flies at impressive altitudes; a research on combined techniques producing stunning effects. We remain astounded by the vastness of the resonant architecture.
There’s also something for those who crave pure improvisational creativity: “All Moved” is a startlingly dynamic offer that juxtaposes articulated neatness, harmonic enigmas and nervous figurations executed with fervid meticulousness. “Never Knew Such Silence” drops brief contrapuntal suggestions in an amalgamation of likelihood and edgy vigilance. Thanks to the visions of three musicians able to reach climaxes of uncontaminated imagination, we can stuff rational and technical roundabouts away, ultimately letting the music speak for itself. And speak it does, strong and clear.