Saxophonist Ivo Perelman is an exceptional innovator, even in a genre where originality and inventiveness are the norms. A stalwart of the international creative music scene, Perelman excels in small, intimate group settings. His collaboration with the string trio Arcado, the stimulating Deep Resonance, is a dramatic and introspective recording which draws equally on free improvisation and western classical music traditions.
The first movement is constructed out of a mix of overlapping duets alternating with four individual stream-of-consciousness monologues. This intriguing melange of spontaneous expressions leads to a contemplative ambience laced with passionate musings. Perelman's dark, poignant phrases burst out of the textured and dynamic ensemble performance and complement his bandmates' eloquent and emotive lines.
The Arcado trio was formed in 1989 and stopped being active about 25 years ago. The inner synergy though has not waned at allon the contrary, it has become more cohesive. Part 2 of the current suite is a crystalline collective extemporization with angular and thrilling sonic structure. The crisp, bowed strings and the saxophone's stabbing notes fill it with urgency, angst and slow simmering anger. Bassist Mark Dresser's haunting and dissonant reverberations stoke the fury within the piece.
This darkly hued aura continues into the next segment. Dresser and cellist Hank Roberts engage in a somber yet fiery duet. As violinist Mark Feldman and Pereleman enter, these exchanges among the musicians become more piqued yet with a wistful undercurrent. This cinematic mix of ire and melancholy shimmers, undulates and builds up to an explosive climax after which the tension does not completely slack. Perelman blows clusters of tempestuous notes while the resonant strings create a hypnotic ambience.
The final track has a brighter and cautiously celebratory mood. Feldman's strummed violin and Perelman's wailing tenor bounce off Dresser and Roberts' deep-toned refrains. The latter set a martial beat over which Perelman's phrases rise and fall with acerbic humor. Feldman's violin soars and dives like an airplane with a melodic drone. The overall effervescence of the tune is tempered by the solemnity of the expectant cadence and bursts of agitated four-way repartee.
Even though it was recorded in 2018, Deep Resonance is a perfect musical translation of the turmoil engulfing many minds and hearts during the troubling times of 2020. With elegance and finesse, the quartet weaves an emotionally raw and intellectually provocative abstract tale. It is one of sublime lyricism like a polyphonic poem or rather complementary and contrasting verses that coalesce into a single, compelling work of art.