«Our Hearts As Thieves» is a live recording of a American poet-pianist Eliot Cardinaux with German sax player Jonas Engel, Dutch drummer Etienne Nillesen and Danish double bass player Asger Thomsen. The international quartet was recorded at Kunstwerk in Cologne on September 2017. Thomsen invited Cardinaux, who has worked before with Thomsen and other Danish musicians as Kresten Osgood («Odysseus Alone», Insula Jazz, 2017), to join him for a tour in European cities, where both will play with local musicians in every city. Not many people came to see this ad-hoc quartet at Kunstwerk, but the musicians connected immediately, finding ground in an ambient-acoustic approach, extended techniques and assorted preparations, while leaving enough space for Cardinaux to deliver his poetic text.
Cardinaux delivers his somehow cryptic text of the title-piece with a sense of urgency but without any dramas. His voice anchors the abstract yet highly expressive and often chaotic transformation of the poetic images to dense and intense sonic events. These sonic events contrast his quiet delivery with their playful, dramatic building of tension and release. Engel, Nillesen and Thomsen sound as if all were busy supplying a restless and noisy percussive layer to the voice of Cardinaux and later to his brief musings on the piano. Mid-piece all the commotion is channeled into a static, buzzing drone, that patiently matures and intensifies as an abstract yet nuanced soundscape that embraces the coda of the poetic text. The quartet finishes the set with a short, free-improvised piece, that embraces a concise poem of Cardinaux but still captures the fresh, risk-taking spirit of the former piece.
Eliot Cardinaux (p, poetry), Jonas Engel (as), Asger Thomsen (b, objects); Etienne Nillesen (extended snare dr)