Spaces Unfolding features two pioneer British free improvisers – flutist Neil Metcalf and violinist Philipp Wachsmann, both are known for their work with the London Improvisers Orchestra as well as their work with such seminal improvisers like Roscoe Mitchell, Evan Parker and Barry Guy, with the Norwegian, Leeds-based drummer Emil Karlsen, who recently joined the London Improvisers Orchestra. Karlsen has played with Metcalf and Wachsmann since 2019 in various contexts but separately – with Metcalf in various ad-hoc situations on the London improvised music scene, and with Wachsmann in his electro-acoustic trio Tern. Surprisingly, Metcalf and Wachsmann never played together apart from in the London Improvisers Orchestra and in various Evan Parker large ensembles.
Karlsen offered Metcalf and Wachsmann to record a trio session in one afternoon at St. Mary’s Old Church in Stoke Newington (the last surviving Elizabethan church in London), without any prior discussions of ideas to explore. The outcome is the new Spaces Unfolding trio and a debut album, The Way We Speak, the first encounter of an improvising trio exploring the group constellation within its surroundings.
As expected, Spaces Unfolding explores the timbral and textural interrelationship of the flute, violin, and percussion constellation. But Spaces Unfolding does much more, in a natural, immediate and intimate manner, never losing the intriguing tension. Only highly experienced improvisers, with deep listening gifts and strong personal voices, who close improvisational approaches can produce such profound music. The music flows seamlessly from the delicate, chamber melodies to almost silent whispers, sonic searches that investigate extended breathing, bowing and percussive techniques, and intense storms. But always keeping a cohesive spirit, while Metcalf, Wachsmann and Carlsen clearly enjoy the spacious acoustics of St. Mary’s Old Church.
Neil Metcalfe (fl), Philipp Wachsmann (vio), Emil Karlsen (dr)