VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Marvellous Transatlantic


Carlos Alegre: violins and violas; Darío Bernal: pecussion and field recordings; Alexander Bruck: violas; Ramón del Buey: violas, cellos, bass clarinets, trombones and Fender Rhodes; Thanos Chrysakis: synthesizer/electronics; Francesco Dillon: cello; Laura Hyland: acoustic guitar; Sebastian Lexer: piano; Xavier Lopez: electronics; Misha Marks: acoustic and electric guitars, baritone horn; Wade Matthews: electronics; James O’Sullivan: electric guitars; Natalia Pérez Turner: cellos; Carlos Sandoval: electronics; Philip Somervell: piano; Axel Tamayo: double basses; Wilfrido Terrazas: c flutes, g flutes and bass flutes; Dafne Vicente Sandoval: bassoon; Artur Vidal: electronics, field recordings and alto saxophones; Fernando Vigueras: acoustic guitars; Riccardo Wanke: electronics and electric guitar; Lawrence Williams: alto saxophone

By looking at the above list one could be justified in thinking about an extemporaneous proposal by an improvisation orchestra; instead, The Marvellous Transatlantic is a long-distance cooperation instigated by the members of Mexican group Generación Espontánea. Every participant was left more or less autonomous in altering assemblages antecedently submitted by other allied musicians along this Mexico/Europe axis; the hope was to experience the kind of fevered reaction that typically derives from acts of superior impromptu creativity. A few of the collective’s masterminds edited the final result, the lone exception represented by “Un Riverbero Di Grillaia” (a favorite of mine) in which Riccardo Wanke took care of the piece’s general organization, turning it into a Stangl/Deupree mix of sorts with precise droplets of steel-string guitar against gently sloping atmospheric snippets and an assortment of minor disruptions.

Overall, the 34 minutes of the disc stand the test of recurrent listening quite well. An adequate proportionality between sources and intentions (or lack thereof) is achieved through seven episodes where actual instruments (with or without preparations and extended techniques), electronic refurbishment and field recordings blend, morph and mutate within contexts whose acoustic scope ranges from “relative upset” to “mild-mannered EAI”. The trait that often stands out is identifiable as “enticing resonance”, a faint harmonic perfume underlying the sections where the border separating self-organizing freedom and compositional rigorousness appears to fade. Nothing could be really labeled as mythical, but the exercising of good taste and a rational application of the finest sonic properties to alleviate the aural strain in the most awkward tracks make sure that there’s not a second of music unworthy of being appraised with the due attention.

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