Belgian experimental electric bass player Raphael Malfliet wrestles for few years now with questions of how the spontaneity of improvisation can explore the essence of a structured composition and how the composed elements motivate personal, improvised statements. His new album, «LE10 18-05» – LE – means a large, 10-musicians ensemble that was recorded on May 2018 in Mechelen, Belgium – attempts to balance between the compositional ideas and improvised segments and to suggest some insightful answers to this eternal kōan that occupies the thoughts of many composers and improvisers.
Malfliet formed an international ensemble with like-like minded curious musicians , all with rich experiences in composed, contemporary music and free-improvised music. This ensemble features fellow-Begian violinist Cécile Broché and flutist Karin De Fleyt, French-Japanese viola player Frantz Loriot, Norwegian trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, Greek-Austrian horn player Elena Kakaliagou, Italian drummer Carlo Costa and French percussionist Toma Gouband.
In each of the nine pieces Malfliet insisted on a demanding rule or a unique musical game that will trigger a distinct, unpredictable sonic atmosphere. In addition, his austere compositions sound as borrowing ideas about their architectural dimensions or about sculpting delicate vibrating textures from contemporary, innovative composers as Iannis Xennaxis and Giacinto Scelsi. Such a highly vibrating-resonating texture is developed carefully on the most ambitious composition, «Arborescence» until its fragile, nuanced layers collide with each other with dramatic energy that keeps gaining more power, best realized by trombonist Munkeby Nørstebø who also excels on the intuitive and abstract «Scintillation». «Supersonic» distils this approach to a sparse yet poetic conversation between the percussionists while «Parcours» offers a playful, even athletic interplay of these percussionists. The last «Trajectory» creates a colorful and multilayered texture of restless sonic events where the composed elements and the personal interpretations are completely inseparable.
Raphael Malfliet (el.b), Karin De Fleyt (fl), Leonhard Huhn (cl, as), Elisabeth Coudoux (c), Frantz Loriot (viola), Cécile Broché (vio), Elena Kakaliagou (vh), Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (tb), Carlo Costa (dr, perc), Toma Gouband (perc)