CD Reviews

Tuesday 15th May

May 16, 2012

Every so often I get a large parcel of new releases arrive from the Creative Sources label, and each time I always end up feeling bad because although I play all of them at least once I only ever write about three or four of the discs each time. I have an awful lot of time for the CS label, what it does and the service it provides to musicians looking to either get a release out that can’t find a home otherwise, or let up and com in musicians release something for the first time. I am still seeking a solution as to how I can write something about all of the CS discs that arrive here, but what is really good to do is play something I really like by somebody I have never heard of and then share something about it here.

Veiled is the two-hundred and seventh release on the label, and is a release by the (I think) Argentinian trio of Alexander Elgier, (piano) Victor Grinenco (violin, hardingfele (?) objects and electronics) and Samuel Sahlieh (synthesiser, electric bass guitar and tapes). It contains a single twenty-nine minute studio track. I don’t think I have ever heard of any of these musicians before, and it is heartening to hear of yet more good musicians working in Argentina, a country that certainly seems to be blossoming on the improvised music front. The first thing that hit me about this release was Elgier’s piano, how well it is recorded here (the whole album is very nicely captured and mastered) and how much it made me think of John Tilbury’s playing. The disc opens with some slowly picked out arpeggios and little semi melodic fragments that are beautiful as much as they are familiar. Gradually the piano is joined by scraping strings and buzzing and humming electronics that also remind me a little of AMM until the synthesiser adds some extraordinary sharp, angular attacks that throw that comparison out of the window but give the music a very nice further dimension.

Veiled is actually a really good listen, all quite spacious and slow, yet often also building into dense little patches of buzzing, roaring electronics and bass guitar distortion with the piano floating over the top, sometimes played straight, sometimes with a prepared percussive thud added, and here and there crashing into loud, seismic explosions, all, dare I say it, Tilburyesque, but actually always done very well indeed and played with a fair amount of skill and assurance. The edge is brought to the music through Sahlieh’s synth, which refuses to slip into standard elector acoustic improv comfort zones and so, through its odd bleeps and swooshes keeps the music on its toes throughout. The lulls are all brooding and suspenseful, the climaxes full of drama, but there is also enough of a loose cannon in there to keep the music from becoming generic. The closing moments, with Elgier’s piano in gradually dying, gamelanesque chiming mode and just the slightest of accompanying rumbles is particularly nice. This is actually a very good release indeed, and one that has soundtracked by journey to and from work for a few days as well as getting played here over the last couple of nights a fair number of times. Maybe I am in the minority in not knowing these musicians work outside of this release, and if so I would very much welcome further recommendations, but for now I am very happy to point people to this disc and am very pleased indeed to have been introduced to it. Creative Sources.

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