JOE MORRIS / AGUSTÍ FERNÁNDEZ – Ambrosia

Riti

The beautiful picture inside the digipack portrays the protagonists of this uncompromising record in dissimilar facial expressions: Fernández relaxed but also conscious of being photographed, Morris glancing obliquely at the camera while touching his hair, the smart smile of someone who knows of having just perpetrated acts against the accepted conventions, evidently unwilling to disclose them. The revelation comes after mere instants of the first of six tracks, all called “Ambrosia”: a pianism that burns, few spaces of reflection amidst atonal flurries of every possible species, an acoustic guitar taking liberties and exploring perturbed gamuts, not giving importance to common aesthetics and canonical appropriateness of certain solutions.

The musicians – carriers of a forward-looking vision that nevertheless does not forget the roots – decided to face all the potential adversities on three different levels: the varying intensity of velocity and dynamics, the occupation of space by the resulting mass of sounds, the focus that they inevitably had to put into their reciprocal listening. Another important element is the joint use of the abrasive qualities of the strings, particularly evident in the fourth chapter where both artists privilege the noisier features of the instruments: Morris frantically scraping with the plectrum, Fernández literally banging the wood and raping keyboard and innards at once.

On the contrary, the subsequent “Ambrosia 5” is probably the most gratifying listen for the ones who suffer from chronic technical thirst: a veritable festival of sensitive juggling and intertwining zigzags that reaches the perfect balance between virtuosity and implacability. But it’s the entire album which proposes a mixture of uneasy hypotheses and detailed definitions: a pristine musicality dressed in war clothes opening a series of new perspectives on the duo’s systematic research of the unexpected. Difficult stuff for the prototypical jazzbo, highly rewarding for the lucky owners of receptive aerials.

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