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MAW (FRANK MEADOWS, JESSICA ACKERLEY, ELI WALLACE)

«A Maneuver Within»
ATLANTIC RHYTHMS, AR-54

MAW is the free improvising trio of pianist Eli Wallace, double bass player Frank Meadows and guitarist Jessica Ackerley, who began working in the thriving experimental and improvised music scene in Brooklyn. Wallace, Meadows and Ackerly are bold sound artists who have collaborated before with like-minded sonic explorers and improvisers such as reeds player Daniel Carter, guitarist Tashi Dorji and sax player Patrick Shiroishi.

A Maneuver Within is the debut album of the trio and was recorded at the Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn in October 2020, during the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic when collaboration and indoor group improvising had been severely limited. This album is the only documentation of this trio after years of lively sessions and discussions across the New York improvised music scene. Since the recording, Ackerly relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii.

The spacious, chaotic atmosphere of this album was sharpened during the recording set-up when the trio received news that Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. The recording session soon became an unhinged and potent cocktail of joy, nostalgia, caution, absurdity, anxiety, and renewed invigoration. The first, short pieces highlight the creative array of extended techniques by Wallace, Meadows and Ackerly that expand the sonic palette of their respective instruments and all sketch intimate and subtle kinetic splashes of conceptual frameworks.

The last 23-minute «Decay» offers more urgent but still similar raw and noisy dynamics, reflecting MAW’s desire to explore elevated modes of preparation and execution. This piece captures best the trio’s gift to suggest elusively, contemplative textures that avoid conventional sonic territories. It is a restless exploratory maneuver within and beyond the personal languages of Wallace, Meadows and Ackerly, disarming projected instrumental, familiar sonic conceptions and even gender roles.

Eyal Harevuveni

Jessica Ackerley (g), Eli Wallace (p), Frank Meadows (b)

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