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Belgian guitarist and sound artist Dirk Serries and Swedish, Trondheim-based drummer Tomas Järmyr meet again after the successful recording of YODOK IIItheir trio with amplified tuba player Kristoffer Loto explore more sonic options together. Ashes and Blues was recorded live in the studio in February 2015 after two invigorating live performances in Belgium.
The three pieces on the limited edition vinyl Ashes and Blues, are comprised from sketchy ideas but Serries and Järmyr turn the fleeting musical motifs into multi-layered, enigmatic trance-like and deeply moving compositions. "Paradox," the first piece, begins with distorted yet reserved guitar lines and fractured rhythms accentuated mainly by the cymbals. Soon enough, Serries begins to employ the guitar effects and creates various loops while Järmyr sets a ceremonial, massive pulse and both transform this piece into a stream of aggressive and intense waves of dense sounds, bordering with noise at its climax.
The second piece "Damper" is based on a subtle interplay between Serries and Järmyr. Serries uses his guitar effects to suggest a series of minuscule sonic events that trigger delicate playing of Järmyr on the cymbals and bells. This emphatic interplay patiently, and slowly deepens and solidifies with thicker sounds comprised of layers and loops of abstract guitar sounds and powerful, restless drumming, still with great control and focus. The last piece, "Consecration" features Serries and Järmyr exploring a new sonic terrain, more minimalist and gentle but one that still stresses a profound hypnotizing vein. The slow shaping of guitar-produced thick sonic waves melt organically into the tribal drumming of Järmyr, bringing this piece into a majestic coda.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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