ANNETTE KREBS / ANTHEA CADDY / MAGDA MAYAS – Thread

Another Timbre

The 35 minutes of Thread are filled by a pair of tracks from 2008 (studio) and 2009 (live); diversities are virtually non-existent, the music taking shape – end-to-end – from compatible choices. The instrumentation consists of prepared guitar, tapes and mixing desk (Krebs), cello (Caddy) and piano (Mayas). Having previously collaborated in separate duos, the artists gave life to this trio shortly thereafter; a good move, for each woman’s instrumental dimension is distinctly mirrored inside the shifting frames where the interplay unfolds.

If there’s something in this album that I genuinely appreciate, it’s the no-nonsense attitude shown by the performers. Balancing activeness amidst momentary silences and acerbic outbursts – with several stations in between – Krebs, Caddy and Mayas act like persons who meet for the first time, attracted by the respective mental contents and actively engaging in a spirited conversation. As it happens with sharp-sighted minds, sometimes the dynamics of the superimposed voices tend to (slightly) overwhelm the topic’s core meaning. But in this case there’s such a level of intelligence and sensibility at play that – when that risk appears – everything gets adjusted in mere seconds, all participants regaining an unagitated condition as they let the sonic stream spread with a lesser degree of perturbation. They also remain tensely propulsive in their know-how, the alignment and spacing of the individual sources producing sounds whose coarse-grained detail and electrifying spiritedness are proportional to the perception of originality that the textures conduct, a feeling enhanced by the somewhat de-structured appearance of the improvisations. Entwining of rusted colours, amplified wooden crackles, disobeying arco gestures, hammered harmonics on the piano strings, and those taped vocal snips – occasionally warped – through which Krebs adds a considerable amount of gripping absurdity to the recipe.

Succinctness and cognizance: two features that a great number of improvisers forgets to use, privileging endless wandering around emptiness and fading photocopies of famed precursors. Not so for these distrustful researchers, who explicate the art of agile determination by avoiding self-centred postulations and foreseeable conclusions.

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