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The Catalan, Barcelona-based Phicus trio – guitarist Ferran Fages, double bass player Àlex Reviriego and drummer Vasco Trilla – describes itself as a unit that ‘speculates with silence, pulls the noise out of joint, rearranges the timbre, scraps the tradition to explore their very own harmonic universe forged of the energy of a blazing forest into flame, where solely simple, lanceolate, obverse-shining leaves remain alive’. This poetic portrayal of Phicus stresses that this trio is open to challenging collaborations.

«Sumpflegende», the third album of Phicus, is a joint project with Swedish sax hero Martin Küchen, known as the leader of the Angles groups and member of the Trespass Trio and the All Included quintet. Küchen shares a similar, open and inclusive vision to the one of Phicus and thrives on such free-improvised meetings. Phicus already collaborated with another sax player, Russian Ilia Belorukov on its previous, second album «K(nó)t» (Inotema, 2018). «Sumpflegende» was recorded at Saudades Studio, in the north-eastern part of Catalonia in October 2017. Küchen and Trilla collaborated again in another trio, NoBJECT, with Polish bass player Rafał Mazur, that released its debut album just now («X-Rayed», Fundacja Słuchaj, 2019). Phicus and Küchen are going to tour this year after the release of «Sumpflegende».

The meeting of Phicus and Küchen emphasizes a strong sense of totally democratic interplay and a constant need of searching for challenging and risk-taking manners of playing and communicating. This ad-hoc quartet refuse to settle on comforting pulses or riffs and its highly versatile interplay is not shy from echoing sounds that may suggest black metal, punk or noise elements, all belong to past experiences of the musicians of Phicus.

All six piece are titled after wetlands, lakes, bayou and swamps, somehow capturing how the aesthetics of Phicus and Küchen blend in. Both sides establish its open interplay almost instantly, vary it on the intense collisions of «Lerna» and «Bangweulu» or the searching, intuitive «Manchac», led by the emotional cries of Küchen. But this quartet reach a truly poetic depth on the extended minimalist and abstract «Shikogabana» (the name of a Japanese national treasure swamp in Akita perfecture) and «Polystovo-Lovatskaya» (titled after the largest swamp in Europe), where all dive into a deep realization of the art of the moment.

Eyal Hareuveni

Ferran Fages (g), Àlex Reviriego (b), Vasco Trilla (dr), Martin Küchen (ts, as)

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