Laura Altman: clarinet; Monica Brooks: accordion: Magda Mayas: piano
Having not listened to their debut – 2011’s Lucid on Jim Denley’s Splitrec (for sure it’s there, somewhere, in the growingly ominous piles) – it was authentic pleasure for me to enjoy this concisely intense second chapter by three musicians who don’t like wasting time with enthusiastic idealism, Flock depicting trajectories dictated by the will of getting to the (luminous) point without stopping too much to contemplate the surrounding landscapes. For the large part of about 36 minutes, its constructions seem to respect a subdivision of roles according to which Altman is the “edge” and Mayas furnishes the perspective’s depths, with Brooks acting as a connective element across a timbral palette ranging from hyper-acute wind partials, impressive string bowing and soul-enriching resonances from the obscure meanders of the piano’s internal mechanisms, occasionally improved by the accordion’s penchant to droning, and by additional percussive hues.
Numerous splendid instants of concentrated asymmetry are scattered along the way. In the shorter track “Sownder”, Mayas starts totally immersed in a Tilbury-esque dilatory sequence of thin chords, Altman and Brooks intent in instigating a kind of interaction where the collective sonic organism transmits signals of disquiet while retaining a brooding essence. Indeed the whole album is pervaded by a sort of perturbed tranquility in which the single instrumental voices remain intelligible, never really subsiding even when it would look so. For Great Waitress the aspect of dramatization is not necessary, as they sensibly build a gradualness made of confident, but not ostentatious pronunciations devoid of typical climaxes. Coalescing over their due course, those somewhat introvert sentences recalibrate aspects of our conscious response to given inputs that may have been previously disturbed by adulterating factors. As one gets captivated by irregular rhythms and unsentimental noises, a sense of gracefulness materializes; a skilled assemblage of the acoustic constituents ultimately defines the record’s quality in a healthier variation on what was once (doltishly) called “reductionism”.