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«Knækket Smil»

Danish experimental trombonist-improviser-composer is one of the co-founders of the Copenhagen-based art collective eget værelse (room of your own in Danish) and a member of the Selvhenter band and the duo Gud Er Kvinde (God Is A Woman, with sax player Johannes Lund). She focuses on expanding the sonic palette of the trombone with pedals and effects and likes to interpret what may not be audible but can manifest itself in sonic movements, metal and breath.

Monophonic is a careful study of the trombone played with ‘one voice’, as the title suggests, and transforms the instrument into an otherworldly, almost industrial sonic generator, at times sounding like a distorted-twisted electric guitar on generous doses of steroids. The amplification of the trombone mimics the effect of a magnifying glass, that lets otherwise inaudible sounds be heard and brought forward. The compositions are long swathes of abstract and brutal sound slowly developing along with their overtones, heavily inspired by drones and noise. It is articulated brilliantly by Bertel with her unique, raw emotional power and imaginary sonic vision. She concludes this journey with the touching and delicate «Maze», naked of effects.

Knækket Smil (broken smile in Danish) takes the fearless Bertel to a meeting with like-minded sonic explorer, French noise guitarist Nina Garcia, melting the boundaries between extreme, free improvisation and harsh noise. This is the second album of Bertel and Garcia after the self-titled debut album (Instants Chavirés, 2018).

Knækket Smil is a series of eight urgent and merciless, explosive pieces, all going full blast in their own special ways. Both Bertel and Garcia redefine the sonic possibilities of their respective instruments, informed by no wave and the energy of free jazz, and both command their sonic excursions with precision and rhythmic sensibility. Often the amplified trombone and the electric guitar become one nervous and hungry sonic monster, fed by creaky and squeaky forms of feedback while surfing on waves of distorted overtones. Bertel and Garcia have perfected the practice of mutual listening and reacting and Knækket Smil presents them merging as tender lovers exploring each other‘s scars.

Eyal Hareuveni

Maria Bertel (ampilfied trombone), Nina Garcia (electric guitar)