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«Black Current»

The Berlin-based improvisational trio Sawt Out – trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj and percussionists Burkhard Beins and Michael Vorfeld, each one with his distinct set of percussive instruments and devices – began to work in 2015. This trio has shaped and refined their rich and detailed acoustic textures, based on an array of personal extended techniques and an almost telepathic interplay. Sawt Out has also a Plugged version where Beins plays analog synths, samples and walkie-talkies, Kerbaj plays crackle synth, trumpet, toys and radio and Vorfeld plays light bulbs and electric switching devices.

Black Current is the sophomore album of this innovative trio, following the self-titled album from 2018 released by Malaysian label Herbal Records. The trio, augmented by Lebanese bassist Tony Elieh released its Plugged album Machine Learning on Bocian in 2022. The new album was recorded at Ausland in Berlin in July 2020, after a short tour of Sawt Out, and is released by the Lebanese label Al Maslakh, co-founded by Kerbaj, who also did the artwork and design for this album, as he did for the first album and all albums of this label. The album is released in a limited edition of 300 vinyl and download option.

The debut album of the trio offered a representation of its live performances with sudden changes in its dynamics and machine-like precision. Black Current takes a different approach and suggests how the different ideas and approaches of these three idiosyncratic improvisers emerge and flow at a completely unpredictable pace, and how often the trio becomes a tight sonic entity where instrumental origins become blurred. Kerbaj, Veins and Vorfeld rarely play on their respective instruments in a remotely conventional manner and all focus on shaping and sculpting sounds, individually and as a collective. On this album, they do it at a slower, almost psychedelic-like dream-state pace but more chaotic and tense on the ironically titled «Zone Restreinte», and methodically add more intriguing layers to the delicate, yet mysterious and otherworldly textures. The four detailed and fragile pieces may give the impression of one collective brain being distributed among these three musicians, where each slight change of a musical element directly affects all the others.

Eyal Hareuveni

Burkhard Beins (percussion), Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet), Michael Vorfeld (percussion)

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