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Arc: The Pursuit Of Happiness

Glenn Astarita By

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This album's title justifiably parallels the trio's radiant synergy. With their third release as a unit, this 2009 outing signifies the artists' initial employment of live electronics—a component that has been gaining steam with improvisation-centric bands over the years. But like anything else, good taste and using effects as an instrument stand as the antithesis of some heavily employed electronics configurations that can at times, saturate core musical aspects. Here, the unit seamlessly combines the best of both worlds into a distinct integration of free-flowing concepts and practices.

The trio's design consists of three instruments spanning low to upper register sounds and tonal contrasts. It conjures up an organic acoustic element nicely offset by the streaming and accenting live electronics factor. Cellist Danny Kingshall's creaky arco-passages intersect with bassist Gus Garside's fluent notes and violinist Sylvia Hallett's intense staccato phrasings. With the electronics, they create motifs that could spark thoughts of a machine shop running on old equipment in need of repair, yet it's a divergent program, teeming with subtle surprises.

The musicians interrogate each other via probing dialogues, hued with emotive sentiment and avant-minimalism. On "Phantom Caravan," Hallett and Kingshill's wordless voice parts ride atop droning strings and frantic developments. They also engineer numerous tension and release type statements in concert with free-chamber type excursions. Hence, they embrace innumerable angles, variances in pitch and depth, and render a variety of cunning propositions throughout.


Track Listing: Binding Light; The Rite of Strings; Quintessence; Forgetting All Over Again; Phantom Caravan; Grandpa's Box; Sand Maps; A Chance Occurrence; The Pursuit of Happiness; Dividing Into One; Where Rivers Meet.

Personnel: Sylvia Hallett: violin, electronics, voice; Danny Kingshill: cello, voice; Gus Garside: double-bass, electronics.

Title: The Pursuit Of Happiness | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Emanem

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