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Album Review

Sebastien Branche / Thanos Chrysakis / Tom Soloveitzik / James O'Sullivan / Artur Vidal / Jerry Wigens: Magnetic River

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Sebastien Branche / Thanos Chrysakis / Tom Soloveitzik /  James O'Sullivan / Artur Vidal /  Jerry Wigens: Magnetic River
Magnetic River is an exercise in a highly reserved and demanding form of collective, free improvisation, where silence is as important as any other sound and any sound is welcomed. The group of musicians—three sax players, clarinetist, guitarist, pianist and laptop/electronics player Thanos Chrysakis, also the head of the label—was recorded n April 2011.

The first improvisation is slow and patient. All the musicians stress minimal and sustained sonic gestures and create a fragile, almost transparent, enigmatic sonic envelope. These gestures deliberately challenge the conventional sonic spectrum of all the instruments, undermine any conventional structure, and aim to create new ambiance that blurs any attempt to identify the individual contributions or personal temperament. After the brief, quiet second improvisation, the third and longest one is 17 minutes and features more recognizable reed sounds, atmospheric, and abrupt ones, colliding with delicate, distant radio sounds. The interplay is still minimal and reserved, but more open to rhythmic variations, still, not in any structured form.

Suddenly, after the brief fourth improvisation, the fifth improvisation blossoms into a cinematic soundscape with repeated sonic gestures. All still performed in the same kind of subtle interplay, but the reed players allow themselves to indulge with much more energetic bursts of sounds, while the gentle touches of the piano keys are recognized as such and the electronic background is less threatening.

A demanding and haunting sonic experience.

Track Listing

Personnel

Sébastien Branche: tenor saxophone; Thanos Chrysakis: laptop computer, electronics, piano/inside piano; Tom Soloveitzik: tenor saxophone; James O'Sullivan: guitar; Artur Vidal: alto saxophone; Jerry Wigens: clarinets.

Album information

Title: Magnetic River | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Aural Terrains

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