The Barcelona-based experimental trio Tàlveg has a thing with mysterious names. Its title is explained in a poetic manner as: «at the bottom of the whole, where the slope ends, there’s a dry path that once carried water, but today there are imperceptible sounds which we do not hear of how deafening they are. The bustle of a sick and deaf world is far away, so it stirs the bowels of those who walk there». And the title of its debut long-play album (following a 4-pieces EP released earlier this year, «Ses-Sens»), «Arbori» (är-ˈbȯr-ē), is described as «of, relating to, or resembling a tree, or inhabiting or frequenting trees».
This collaborative trio features baritone sax player Marcel·lí Bayer, known from Iván González’ Memoria Uno improvisation orchestra; who also took the mysterious cover photo; guitarist Ferran Fages known from the Phicus trio; and prolific drummer Oriol Roca. Tàlveg was established in an incessant search for new textures, «chasing the light behind dark atmospheres and desolate landscapes, combining a palette of super-saturated colors with lyrical passages». «Arbori» was recorded in December 2019 at the old Santa Eugènia de Relat in Avinyó, and is a 10-piece oratorio.
«Arbori» keeps searching for distinct, sparse improvisation strategies of the trio and few brief and individual solos or duets, all subverting conventional approaches to sound, form, pulse, or dynamics. Tàlveg explores mysterious and unsettling, cinematic soundscapes, and often opt for sparse, implied gestures that leave enough space – literally – for breath and imagination, as on the minimalist «Zenclat» and «Aposkip» or the more intense «Gosurc» (all titles are in Catalan). Most of these pieces are reserved and developed patiently but Tàlveg can dive into urgent, stormy waters as on «Voix».
This sonic journey of Tàlveg excavates many enigmatic and dark sounds during this modest but very impressive oratorio.
Marcel·lí Bayer (bs), Ferran Fages (g), Oriol Roca (dr)