How can you negotiate the spectrum between abstract ambient music, sonic searches and sound sculpting and free-improvisation? Three Belgian musicians – guitarist Dirk Serries, known from his work with the trio YODOK III and his monikers as ambient pioneers, Vidna Obmana and Fear Falls Burning; reeds player Jan Daelman and pianist Thijs Troch, member of the groups Keenroh and Jukwaa – attempt to offer few answers to this dilemma. These musicians met during an improvised session at the London Citadelic Festival in 2015, and later worked in different configurations, in a studio in Anderlecht and live in the De Singer club in Rijkevorsel. Their experimental adventures are captured on a limited-edition double-cassette release.
«A» features Serries and Daelman alternating between the tenor sax and baby violin. This is an urgent and raging session. Both Serries and Daelman sound in a combative mode, wrestling with each other, attempting to surrender each other, unconditionally, maybe even both, with a massive torrent of thorny, dissonant attacks, flowing with a reckless abandon. Towards its end, suddenly «A» morphs into a meditative drone. Then Daelman picks the flute and Serries offers a serene ambient soundscape. «B» matches Serries with Troch’s prepared piano for a sparse and suggestive improvisation. Both musicians mirror the bare, resonant-percussive gestures of each other, patiently enriching and intensifying their eccentric palette with more mutated and distorted sounds and a tougher interplay.
The first live improvisation and only one of the whole trio, «C», enjoys the already established rapport. It offers a more reserved, refined, even harmonic atmosphere. Daelman flute cements the breathy, meditative tone of this piece where fragmented and delicate sounds float slowly and gently throughout the club space. On the last improvisation, «D», Serries revives his Fears Falls Burning persona and creates a subtle, ambient cinematic soundscape. This piece is charged with the intensity and urgency of a spontaneous improvisation and and constantly disturbed dissonant and noisy sounds.
Jan Daelman (ts, fl, vio), Dirk Serries (g), Thijs Troch (p)