SOPHIE AGNEL / JOHN EDWARDS / STEVE NOBLE – Aqisseq

ONJ

Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been.

Yes, it’s a Nikka Costa quote. It comes useful to depict a bitter marvel directed at myself for having missed the first outing by this brilliant trio, Meteo (on Clean Feed; they surely sent it my way but the eyes probably weren’t working, that day. An operation of retrieval will soon be launched).

However, last week someone was so sweet to whistle and ask if, by chance, I had listened to Aqisseq. Shame on me yet again, for until four days ago I hadn’t. Now my overall perspective on the piano trio has changed, at least for a few hours. At any rate, whenever this scribe reads the names of the musicians involved there’s a considerable degree of certainty in regard to the sheer interest elicited by the sonic content.

Furthermore, the album represents an archetypal case of “writer’s challenge”. How can the (still fortunate) analyst find fitting words for the sort of interaction that eschews formulaic free jazz – an oxymoron, that’s right – in favor of events ranging from the purely elemental/near environmental to the sublimation of infinitesimal hues from an instrument’s body? The answer is simple: improvise, as a genuine musician should always be able to do even when listening to a recording.

Does all of the above manage to attribute an anatomical characterization to this work? That’s not the point. If anything, it’s an immersion in a sound world that is, at the same time, indeterminate and luminiferous. The dynamic forces are equally temperamental: the quasi-violence of a tutti in sudden crescendo may be followed by the acoustic portrait of three persevering artisans crafting detailed shapes from the raw wood of collective thinking. And, believe it or not, respecting the values of quietness while doing that.

Don’t you dare utilizing this material as a conversation filler. Every gesture herein is projected against the shadows of humdrum; their entirety requires your full focus. The semantics of ad libitum interplay is never tiresome to study when “discerning performers” coincides with “unselfish teachers”. Join this lesson without trepidation.

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