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Atolon: Concret

John Eyles By

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Atolón is a Barcelona trio consisting of Ferran Fages and Alfredo Costa Monteiro—who, as a duo, are known as Cremaster—plus trumpeter Ruth Barberán. The single 35- minute track was recorded at Can Felipa, in Barcelona, in January 2011. Although recorded by Another Timbre proprietor Simon Reynell, the album is actually released on the St. Petersburg-based Intonema, despite Reynell's label previously having released recordings by the three, notably the excellent Lúnula (2009) by Octante, which is Atolón plus Portuguese double bassist Margarida Garcia. Cremaster, Atolón, Octante—are you managing to keep track of these names?

Concret makes an interesting contrast with Pluie Fine (Potlatch, 2012), on which Cremaster collaborated with violinist Angharad Davies. In contrast to the duo, where he focuses on electro-acoustic devices and electric guitar, Monteiro here plays accordion plus objects, which significantly alters the soundscape, giving it more warmth and humanity than the occasionally harsh, electronic tone of the duo. Barberán's trumpet has the same effect, particularly when it is muted to create an appealingly vulnerable tone.

It is not all touchy-feely though. Throughout there is a chillingly disconcerting metallic tone lurking which contrasts dramatically with the analogue sounds. Together, the three players put together a constantly shifting piece that can be unexpectedly altered in an instant by a contribution from any of the three, rather than gently evolving. Most often, such scene-shifting interventions arrive courtesy of Fages, but the other two can have just as dramatic an effect. Altogether, this is exemplary trio improvisation resulting in gripping music.

Track Listing: Concret.

Personnel: Ruth Barberán: trumpet, objects; Ferran Fages: acoustic turntable, objects; Alfredo Costa Monteiro: accordion, objects.

Title: Concret | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Intonema

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