Another Dark Age

Writers confronted with recent creations by musicians they’re conversant with can supposedly gather elements from that knowledge to correctly portray the new material. This presupposition is here elegantly dismantled by Magda Mayas, Monika Brooks and Laura Altman. Hue is the third album by Great Waitress, and for sure the one I have listened to the most, for it comprises psychoacoustic mysteries that my mind – in its current frame – has not been able to solve to date.

The palette remains identical (piano, accordion and clarinet), but the joint texture puts a listener in the condition of receiving and accepting messages without the need of determining an actual etymology. Altman may be the lone instrumentalist using her breath to produce pitches, yet the wholeness resulting from the ternary interaction manifests the same physical attributes, synthesizable as acoustic undercurrents of variable intensity. It’s not smooth sailing, notwithstanding an evident attraction for the type of harmonic contiguity that usually generates auras rather than stridency. These auras are not always luminous, though; at times, they’re ominous.

This music is nourished by intrinsic pulses and concrete indications; the performers’ intertwined sensibilities aren’t really betraying their emotions. It’s the awareness of the position inside the timbral fabric that allows them to select the correct move for every juncture. Be it grating, barely whispered, droning or plain dissonant, each passage represents a necessary piece in an intriguing puzzle which can’t possibly be memorized, in spite of the many traces left. As the number of the spins increases, the secrets that had been revealed earlier are replaced by additional question marks. An inescapable magnetism certifying – for the umpteenth time – a man’s incapability of defining through laughable words what should be explicit to begin with. I’ll sign off with a couple more: brilliant work.

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