(Confront)

Rhodri Davies (harp), Simon H.Fell (double bass) and Mark Wastell (violoncello) recorded this music in 2002 at the Tempio Civico dell’Incoronata in Lodi, Italy. At the outset there’s still something from the outside world creeping in: a bell tower, voices of toddlers. The musicians taste the air with a few touches. Then, an almost unnatural hush fades in and a slow dance comprising explorations of the most obscure innards of interplay begins. Davies conjures up intramural reminiscences and ghosts, alternating acrid squeals and hollow-voiced bumps that are perfectly related to the venue’s natural reverberation. A game of percussive call-and-response is then initiated, with Wastell and Fell introducing their own voices via tentative inquiries first, then through mute scrapings that raise questions destined to remain in some sort of pleasing limbo, before one realizes they were answers instead. One of the most interesting effects of this process is the state of alertness it generates, which is also reflected by a tangible concentration both among the artists and by the audience. Beginning the second movement, an impressive example of control in which only feeble faraway harmonics and laconic orchestrations of zinging strings are heard, we cuddle an illusion of definitive return to silence but are soon deluded by the most vibrant series of intersecting discharges, complete with scientifically placed wooden thuds and droning jolts, unfortunately too short to be adequately enjoyed. We’re also treated with harshly shrieking, short-length ostinatos intoducing us to passages of subsonic grumble that would love to be turned into a gorgeous lyrical swan; but it’s too late, as a thick mist of doubt comes right back to suffocate everything, a final conversation of clicking and ticking imagery closing the show, final silence broken by a hearty, well deserved applause.

Advertisements