«La Trahison Des Mots» (The Treachery of Words), the album of Bilbao-based experimental duo of cellist Matias Riquelme and sax player Fernando Ulzion was inspired by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte’s famous 1929 painting La Trahison Des Images (The Treachery of Images, also known as This is Not a Pipe). The album was recorded live at the church of the town Apodaka church, near the city of Vitoria in the Spanish Basque country, in April 2018.
The free-improvised set of Riquelme and Ulzion plays with titles of the pieces in a similar manner as Magritte did with his surreal images. Some of the pieces are titled after familiar standards – «Round Midnight», «In a Silent Way», «Prelude to a Kiss», «Tenderly», «Lonely Woman» and more. But these titles radiate only Riquelme and Ulzion immediate, imaginative free-associations and do not attempt to follow the original themes at all.
Riquelme and Ulzion enjoy the reverberating space of Apadaka church, letting their sound travel and resonate in the church room. There are times where they sound as colliding, exposing hidden sonorities, but more often Riquelme and Ulzion are focused on expanding and developing each other’s ideas and eventually melt their own distinct vocabularies and extended bowing and breathing techniques into one sonic entity. Ulzion, on the soprano and alto saxes, opts for long blows and cries and a strong lyrical and clear, ethereal voice that navigates gently in the church space, while Riquelme tone is briefer, often dirty and distorted upfront and earthy, but together they have managed to reach a complete communion. The improvised set is structured as a series of emotional, emphatic meetings and heated arguments and obviously, few surreal and abstract detours, but concludes with a peaceful, compassionate coda.
Matias Riquelme (c), Fernando Ulzion (ss, as)