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The trio of Belgian experimental, electric bass player-composer Raphael Malfliet has worked extensively until fully realized his compositional ideas. Malfliet focused on the last years on incorporating elements from contemporary music, including ideas inspired from graphic scores by iconoclastic composers as Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen and György Ligeti and others by Anton Webern, into free-improvisation strategies and schools (European and American).

Malfliet found like-minded comrades for his ‘guitar trio’ – New York-based guitarist Todd Neufeld and Italian-born drummer-percussionist Carlo Costa (Costa hosted Neufeld in his last solo album, «Carlo Costa’s Acustica – Strata», Neither/Nor Records, 2015). The three met in New York in 2015 and after extensive rehearsals, few performances and many discussions have developed the chamber aesthetics for Malfliet debut album, «Noumenon» (a term in Kantian philosophy, a posited object or event that exists without sense or perception), recorded on analog tape. The cover art was made by Ethiopian-born, New York-based visual artist Julie Mehretu.

Each of the Malfliet seven compositions investigates a distinct structure or a certain improvisational strategy. The opening, the 18-minutes of «Kandy» researches a serene, meditative texture, almost transparent one, where the highly disciplined, tension building moves in minimalist, cyclical patterns back to its starting point without materializing. «Arcana» explores similar, meditative-minimalist terrains, but focuses on how the different instruments resonate as a unified whole and in each other subtle gestures. «Boog» employs assorted extended techniques and effects in order to offer a rich palette of industrial sounds and abstract noises. Only «Rotation» suggests a conflictual, aggressive interplay and explores tense texture, led by the intense guitar work of Neufeld.  Other, shorter pieces like «My Name» processes spoken words with effects-laden sounds and noises or explores gentle, melodic interplay as «Kort» and «Samen».  In all these compositions the superficial distinction between the composed parts and the improvised one is totally blurred.

Highly original and unique.

Eyal Hareuveni

Raphael Malfliet (el-b), Todd Neufeld (g), Carlo Costa (dr, perc)

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