Magpie is anti-fascist, free-punk trio, playing on acoustic instruments with lots of screeching bows and clanging on the inner-strings, but with very few bells and whistles and some explosive speech-grenades. Magpie unites American poet-vocalist-pianist Eliot Cardinaux and Danish double bass player Asger Thomsen and drummer-percussionist Jeppe Høi Justesen. And Magpie describes its poetic words and music as a fresh blend of Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits meeting Melt Banana sitting in the back row of Keith Jarrett solo concerts in Japan.
Cardinaux collaborated before with Danish musicians, among them drummer Kresten Osgood («Odysseus Alone», Insula Jazz, 2017) and sax player Mia Dyberg, and recorded before with Thomsen («Our Hearts As Thieves», Self Produced, 2018), captured during a joint European tour. This trio met in a two-week festival stint in Boston, organized by Osgood.
The debut album of Magpie, «Six Feet on Solid Ground», focuses on the poetry of Cardinaux that sets the atmosphere for his piano musings and the loose, spontaneous interplay of the trio, best realized on the only instrumental piece, «Castles and Cathedrals». The trio, in its turn, corresponds to the whimsy, enigmatic delivery and deep, warm voice of Cardinaux with great senses of drama, imagination and invention. His «Speechgrenades» poem refers the complex graphic notation and unique sonic language of Anthony Braxton (… «Infobar — / object  –– / iscernits’ubjectspirit / breathehard – [KOK] / linguism’under trillium / – terminalbeit, [NQL] / exinspire cash [OR–] …).» «Sunhostage» distills Cardinaux emotions to these inspiring lines: I leave you with desolate blossoms, / lusting on brittle knees / so each hostage can envy / that craving the sky observes. And Cardinaux summarizes about music on «Objects of the Moon»: But music is an object too, torn from rest: / A subject weights the world again.
«Six Feet on Solid Ground» is accompanied with a 20-pages chapbook with a story about the origin of name Magpie (including a borrowed phrase from a poem of Ezra Pound and another poem that borrows other phrases from Russian-Jewish poet Osip Mandelstam) and, obviously, the poems of Cardinaux, released by his own poetry press and label, The Bodily Press.
Don’t miss this beautiful recording!
Eliot Cardinaux (p, v, poetry); Asger Thomsen (b, obj); Jeppe Høi Justesen (dr, perc)