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«The Absence of Zero»

The Absence of Zero is a long poem by Canadian poet R. Kolewe (Book*hug Press, 2021) which is an example of thinking in language, a meditation that explores time and memory in both content and form and is an elegy to the 20th century, and the disparate fragments of its ideas that continue to affect and disrupt our present. The Absence of Zero is also the album of Italian, Trieste-based guitarist Andrea Massaria, German, Berlin-based double bass player Meinrad Kneer and German, New York-based drummer Joe Hertenstein, recorded at Berlinaudio in Berlin in November 2021.

The free improvised album borrows the poetic sensibility of Kolewe’s poem and offers five instant compositions, all titled «Zero», and all ranging from explosive free jazz attacks to textural or more fragmented soundscapes, and from noise to radical free improvisations. Obviously, Massaria, with his effects-laden, thorny-sounding electric guitar, Kneer and Hertenstein keep exploring and expanding the sonic palettes of their respective instruments, with their own extended bowing and percussive techniques.

The five pieces suggest restless and dramatic, powerful and tense conversations between strong-minded individuals, that demonstrate timbral curiosity and deep listening, openness and indecision, constant questioning and mystery, and always surprise and push each other’s sonic boundaries. But most of all, The Absence of Zero highlights the joyful sense of witnessing the drama of abstraction, naturally, in the absence of zero.

Eyal Hareuveni

Andrea Massaria (guitar, effects), Meinrad Kneer (double bass), Joe Hertenstein (drums, percussion)