There are not many free-improvised recordings that enjoy the photography and artwork of art-rock legend David Sylvian. Sylvain does the artwork for his album, did before for the Norwegian Punkt festival and for his work with vocal artist Sidsel Endresen and trumpeter-vocalist Arve Henriksen that was presented in this festival. His artwork for the Berlin-based trio of violinist-vocalist Biliana Voutchkova, clarinetist Michael Thieke and electro-acoustic media operator Roy Carroll, captures the essence of the trio aesthetics, its nuanced flow through complex, troubled courses.
Voutchkova, Thieke and Carroll have worked before in different formations. Voutchkova and Thieke in a duo that already released one album, «Already There» (Flexion, 2013), and both play in the Splitter Orchestra. Thieke and Carroll played together with dancers, but this live document, recorded on January 2015 at the Berlin Studio 8 is the debut album of the trio.
«As Found» suggests different improvisation strategies, all focused on creating new sonic options that transcend conventional sounds. Voutchkova uses her expressive vocals and extended techniques to expand the sonic spectrum of the violin. Thieke explores minutiae of sound, timbre and noise, with a particular interest in microtonality and Carroll uses signal processing to create multi-layered forms, orbiting around the kinetic nature of the transformation of electrical audio signals into disturbed air.
The 38-minutes title piece demonstrates the trio disciplined approach beautifully. Carroll expands the acoustic timbral aspects of the violin and the clarinet, sketches their sounds in space as if painting thick color strokes on a minimalist, abstract painting. The intense tension is kept throughout this kinetic electro-acoustic pendulum, moving between tactile, detailed acoustic ideas and their distant, processed abstraction, between reserved and discrete sounds and sudden, rough eruptions and individual searches of uncharted sonic territories and rich, surprisingly lyrical and colorful drone unity. Mid-piece, Voutchkova introduces her enigmatic, vocal incantations and whispers, shifting the principled, thoughtful interplay into a tortured, emotionally-driven one. After this emotional sonic turmoil the trio shifts again, concluding with a patient play between sustained and peaceful sounds and fractured and noisy ones. The second, shorter piece «As Left» distills the trio timbral research into a concise, focused capsule of majestic microtonal sounds.
Biliana Voutchkova (vio, v), Michael Thieke (cl), Roy Carroll (electro-acoustic media)