Take three resourceful improvisers: German trumpet and electronics player Axel Dörner plus Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández and drummer-percussionist Ramon Prats (both play together in the Liquid Trio). Locate a scene: Rosazul studio in Barcelona. Find enough time: November 2nd, 2017. Readers of salt-peanuts.eu who are well-versed in the history of European free-improvisation and avant-garde music would not need further information. «Venusik» is already in their shopping list.
But this review is written for those of you who, unfortunately, are not familiar yet with these sonic sorcerers, masters of the art of the moment, gifted with elephantine ears and hands of the most advanced brain surgeons. Dörner is one of the most influential European trumpeters, working with free jazz groups as Die Enttäuschung and Alexander von Sclippenbach’s Monk Casino and Globe Unity Orchestra, but he is also a true explorer of the trumpet as generator of microscopic sounds. Fernández also sees the piano as an infinite sound machine and has developed a highly personal aesthetics of playing the keys, the strings of the piano and its wooden body. Prats is also a highly versatile improviser, who has worked with innovative improvisers as Mats Gustafsson and Albert Cirera but also with mainstream jazz musicians as Esperanza Spalding and Eric Alexander.
«Venusik» offers five stormy free-improvisations, all radiate elusive moods of comfort and unrest and all cry for freedom. The quiet mood of the opening «AEM» is informed at first by the subtle electronics and restless breaths of Dörner and the nuanced percussion sounds of Fernández and Prats, later all melt into an otherworldly nervous and thunderous entity. «SSO» ups the temperature to a boiling point and suggests muscular, fiery and chaotic interplay, still led by Dörner and coming closer to a total sonic meltdown, but ends in a surprising, lyrical note of Fernández. «SRON» builds layers upon layers of unconventional rhythmic patterns, comprised of extended breathing techniques, preparations of the piano strings and noisy percussive sounds. All these sounds are suddenly distilled into a silent, ethereal soundscape. «SUPARCO» continues the mysterious, quiet vein but methodically masses the delicate, poetic sounds and noises into an ecstatic, psychedelic trance. The last and longest «SNSB», almost 18-minutes long, builds its dramatic tension slowly and patiently from the most sparse and minimalist sounds and gestures, through emotional and poetic tones and overtones , until it drowns in a sensual, resonant pulse, like an ancient ceremony that aims in driving away evil demons and corrupt politicians.
Keep the volume level to 11 and let this enlightening music wash your ears and mind.
Axel Dörner (tp, elec), Agustí Fernández (p), Ramon Prats (dr, perc)