This is a piano trio that bypasses the great legacy of such trios. Young Belgian pianist Seppe Gebruers plays two pianos simultaneously, the second one is tuned a fraction lower than the first, so he can create microtonal intervals that sparkle, both in the melody and the harmonies. Portuguese double bass player Hugo Antunes is a generation older than Gebruers and here he adds preparations to his instrument. Veteran German master percussionist Paul Lovens, who adds cymbals and gongs to his drum-set, is known for his idiosyncratic timing, dynamics and colour, all allowing him to liberate the percussion from its traditional dilemma of either serving the music or towering over it.
Naturally, «The Room: Time & Space», recorded at «kc nona», Mechelen, Belgium, on February 2016, offers a bold and the most free perspective on the senses of time and space. As Lovens suggests in his liner notes: «There are rooms that invite you to seek shelter whereas other rooms seem to help you to concentrate, or they pull out of you thoughts and behaviour that has been waiting inside you to be awakened». The room where was album was recorded turned out to be a «little gloomy theatre», but Lovens concludes: «because we were ready to receive, the room took power over us».
The trio of Gebruers, Antunes and Lovens plays «five unedited improvisations» that fill the space of this «little gloomy theatre» with an enigmatic, totally unpredictable and beautifully weird sounds, focused first and foremost on a democratic interplay, leaving space for each musician to lead on and letting the music float in space and evolve organically, in its own pace and with no sense of urgency. Lovens masterfully colors the two pianos quarter-tones produced by Gebruers while Antunes charges the interplay with cryptic rhythmic patterns. You may feel the intensity and the tangible qualities of each sound, as well as the elusive architecture and fragile tension between these strange sounds, still, always enchanted by the delicate, searching conversational flow.
Beauty is indeed a strange thing, especially as this trio redefines our senses of time and space. And maybe, as Lovens wrote, it is impossible to describe in words what this trio does, but to listen with open ears and find comfort in the wise advice of Ludwig Wittgenstein: «Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent».
Seppe Gebruers (two grand pianos, tuned a quarter tone apart), Hugo Antunes (prep. and unprepared b), Paul Lovens (dr, gongs)