«The Seventh Water» is the second album in violinist Biliana Voutchkova’s year-long project of duos, and this time the Berlin-based master improviser meets the Brooklyn-based cellist Leila Bordreuil. Voutchkova and Bordreuil first played together in 2019 in New York and two years later Voutchkova invited her to her curated DARA String festival. The album was recorded at Werkhalle Wiesenburg in Berlin in August 2021 after a short tour of Voutchkova and Bordreuil.
Voutchkove says that «everything about this album has come to the world with ease and conviction. The soundscapes created together are bringing me to a new zone of exploration, into a world of lush and rich sonorous string timbres full of color and spectral overtones, where music and noise happily coexist as pure luminous sound». Even the title of the album came to her in a dream, and the suggestive cover art Ishan Clemenco (once a minimalist composer and now translating his concerns of just intonation and duration in music into treatments of surface and volume, in constructed sculpture), found her in Instagram.
This immediate and profound affinity of Voutchkova and Bordreuil is clearly demonstrated in «The Seventh Water». Both Voutchkova and Bordreuil are classically trained musicians but are imaginative sonic explorers who keep expanding their vocabularies and their instruments’ timbral possibilities, often to atonal and noisy but enigmatic drone terrains. The first piece «Boiling Lake» suggests such a mysterious, apocalyptic soundscape, employing extended bowing techniques and using the amplification as another feedback-laden voice. «Caitha, goddess of tears» takes another course and offers an intimate and introspective conversation, «Thirst», again, suggests a different improvisation strategy, this time sketching a meditative soundscape where Voutchkova and Bordreuil caress the gently resonating strings of the violin and cello and methodically intensify the volume – literary – of this duet until it reaches its distorted, unsettling coda. The last, title piece first deepens the meditative vein but twists it into a gamelan-like sensual percussive ritual, then slowly adapts West-African seductive, cyclical patterns and concludes with a noisy but playful chat of the bows.
Inventive and inspired meeting.
Biliana Voutchkova (vio), Leila Bordreuil (c)