Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández and American guitarist Joe Morris need no introduction. Both Fernández and Morris are innovative composers-free-improvisers-educators who have been collaborating in the last decade in different formats and projects – as a duo on «Ambrosia» (Riti, 2011), a trio with trumpeter Nate Wooley on «From The Discrete To The Particular» (Relative Pitch, 2012) or in «Fernández Celebration Ensemble» (Fundacja Słuchaj!, 2017). Their latest collaboration is another trio, this time with New York-based vocal artist Charmaine Lee, recorded in July 2018 at Firehouse12, New Haven, Connecticut.
Lee, like Fernández and Morris, is concerned with the spontaneous playfulness and is eager to take risks. She has developed her own extended vocal technique, like Fernández and Morris have developed their own extended techniques, and she employs uses amplification, electroacoustic feedback, and microphones to augment and distort the voice. «Magma» is indeed a free-improvised meeting of the volatile and volcanic kind, wild, unpredictable and risk-taking.
The opening title-piece sets the atmosphere, declaring loud and clear that all is possible and nothing is obvious in this meeting. Fernández, Morris and Lee focus on expanding their sonic palette while keep pushing each other to dare even more. Fernández and Morris investigate on the following «Basalt» investigates exotic and somehow ceremonia, l Far-Eastern-like sonorities while the crying vocals of Lee disturb the serene atmosphere. «Maglev» changes the sonic course and explores almost silent articulations, as the fragile, almost transparent sounds float and blend in the studio space. The last two pieces, «Andesite» and «Rhyolite», titled again after another volcanic phenomena, sounds as secret congregation of subversive sonic magicians , all testing together their powerful tricks in one-of-a-kind playful interplay.
Agustí Fernández (p), Joe Morris (g), Charmaine Lee (v)