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FMR, FMRCD595-0920

Sverdrup Balance is the experimental, free-improv trio of British pioneer electronics player Lawrence Casserley, who plays on a signal processing instrument and is known from Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, Japanese pianist Yoko Miura  (who also plays the melodeon) and vocal artist Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg. The trio released its debut album, «Isla Decepción» (titled after an island just off the Antarctic continent, released by Setola Di Maiale) in autumn 2019, and followed its release in a tour in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Italy, where «Arcturus» was recorded. This trio already performed before the recording of Isla Decepción and Casserley and Van Schouwburg and Van Schouwburg and Miura recorded before in duo formats («MouthWind», HEyeRMEarS/DISCORBIE, 2011 and «On The Shore Of Dreams», FMR, 2017).

Sverdrup Balance is named after the theoretical relationship between the wind stress exerted on the surface of the open ocean and the vertically integrated meridional (north-south) transport of ocean water. «Arcturus» is titled after the brightest star in the northern sky shining above the Arctic Ocean. These poetic titles reflect the unique energy, the stream of ideas and the imaginative flow of spontaneous sounds. Most of the material on «Arcturus» comes from two of the most remarkable concerts, in Leuven and Genova. Sverdrup Balance added an interlude from the first concert of the tour at Arch 1 in London.

The quiet, patient and attentive interplay of Sverdrup Balance deepens the enigmatic yet quite intimate atmosphere of «Arcturus». The piano of Miura and the voice of Van Schouwburg are often resonated and extended by Casserley’s electronics, and his rich palette of otherworldly sounds intensify the delicate process of tension building and release on most of the improvisations. Miura adds a playful, melodic song-like dimension with her piano playing- including inside the piano – and her playing on the melodeon adds unpredictable innocent vein to this interplay. The spectrum of voices and breaths of Van Schouwburgand, as well as his phrasing and timing, charge the improvisations with a sense of dramatic and often theatrical storytelling and sharp irony to the mysterious and free-associative improvisations. Eventually, the deep listening, curiosity, joy of search, discovery and invention and wild imagination bind together the distinct and highly personal voices of Casserley, Miura and Van Schouwburg.

Eyal Hareuveni

Lawrence Casserley (signal processing instr.), Yoko Miura (p, melodeon); Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (v)

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