FERRAN FAGES / ROBIN HAYWARD / NIKOS VELIOTIS – Tables And Stairs

Organized Music From Thessaloniki

This disc represents the evidence of an apartment concert held in June 2010, from which most of the (small) gathering’s interference has been removed in the post-production stage. Hayward and Veliotis play their usual items (microtonal tuba and cello respectively), whereas Fages made use of sine waves for the occasion.

The dialogue is intimate and fluent at the same time. Each associate shows awareness towards what the others have to propose. At the beginning and, especially, at the end the music’s motility is fairly attenuated, the instruments behaving almost circumspectly though always gifted with an ear-pleasing timbral warmth. It is very clear that there is confidence between the players, and also in what the ensuing sonic phenomena will turn out to be.

The sine waves and the tuba, for inherent qualities, tend to slightly occlude the auditive channels given the powerfulness of their “treatment”, as a general rule decoded more by the skull’s bones than the auricular membranes. Accordingly, Fages and Hayward appear as straightaway attention-getting voices. But they’re intelligent musicians, and avoid overwhelming the mix by stepping back a bit when the moment is due, thus permitting Veliotis to be once again praised for his reticent manners.

The central nucleus contains the only sections where the trio’s solid droning potential is explicated to the upper limit. The harmonic force of these mantras is tangible, the vibration spreading in the air brain-cleansing, to say the least (from the 15th minute to the 23rd, an impressively monolithic episode in that sense expands and snarls).

The liquid is not without impurities: improper oscillations and throbs emerge every now and then, as to remember that we’re talking about humans and not machines.

Ultimately, a consistent work presenting a fine balance of refinement and muscle. We might describe it as “semi-heavy EAI”, even if fragments of stillness remain essential in the formula. It took a few tries for me to really appreciate it, but Tables And Stairs is surely a legitimate release.

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