Sunday, May 16, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Big Picture, Quiet Spaces

Myra Melford/Mark Dresser/Matt Wilson (Trio M): Big Picture. 2007. Cryptogramophone: CG 134.

Myra Melford: piano
Mark Dresser: bass
Matt Wilson: drums

The glow that still resonated in the air after hearing Trio M perform live for the first time runs through this recorded set. That feeling of needing to have this disc after hearing that show one month before its release has not dulled with time spent drinking in the sounds preserved here. A rare meeting of creative equals forming something startling above and beyond the sum of its considerable parts. The layering of individual compositional contributions within the generosity and musicianship makes for an experience that will re-arrange the actively listening mind and raise expectations for what is possible within a trio collaboration. A great disc that is truly a joy to hear.

Petra Haden/Bill Frisell: Petra Haden and Bill Frisell. 2003. Songline/Tonefield: TND 312.

Petra Haden: vocals, violin
Bill Frisell: electric guitars, acoustic guitars, loops

Chills, meet spine. Spine, meet chills. This is what happens when Petra Haden and Bill Frisell interpret Frisell's "Throughout" with plenty of layers of multi-tracked harmonies in the service of this deceptively simple piece. Beyond this concluding track this is a collection of songs that levels the same respect towards Gershwin and the Foo Fighters. Petra Haden's harmonic sensibility appears to effortlessly escape the intonation issues that plague vocalists as if they never existed. Multi-tracked layers of her voice producing something almost too sublime. Not unlike the effect of multi-tracked Frisell guitars. A truly great collaboration full of warmth and reward.

Morton Feldman: Works for Piano. 1990. Hat Hut Records: hat ART CD 6035.

Marianne Schroeder: piano

Intermission 5 (1952)
Piano Piece to Philip Guston (1963)
Vertical Thoughts 4 (1963)
Piano (1977)
Palais De Mari for Francesco Clemente (1986)

To my ears these are definitive interpretations of this delicately quiet, fragile music of exquisite beauty that unfolds like crystals against the shaping forces of silences. Morton Feldman created vast sonic landscapes using very few notes along a large canvas of time. A well placed pair of notes at contrasting registral extremes on the piano setting just the right ripples of vibration along a tranquil pond.

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