CD Reviews

Monday 22nd March

March 22, 2010

A busy day today, focussed mainly on Cathnor activities and girlfriend activities, but this afternoon/evening it has been really good to settle down with a book and some music. A few weeks back I took advantage of Sofa Music’s great value 10th Anniversary sale and picked up half a dozen or so titles, some new some old. (Yeah I know, the listening mountain grows fast enough without me adding to it, but old habits die hard) Amongst them was their most recent release, an album reveling in the sumptuous title Nectars of Emergence by MURAL, who are the trio of Jim Denley, (alto sax and flutes) Kim Myhr, (acoustic guitars and preparations) and Ingar Zach (gran cassa and percussion). Denley and Myhr released a rather nice duo disc named Systems Realignment on the Either/Or label last year which I wrote about here. This new CD inhabits similar ground, but perhaps despite the additional musician there is a little more space in the music, which is as nicely recorded as the duo disc is. Maybe because Denley drops the electronics that often formed a bed for the music on Systems Realignment this trio recording feels lighter and more airy, with all of the acoustic sounds clean, crisp and easily identifiable.

The music on Nectars of Emergence feels very clear and precise. The three musicians all contribute in equal parts, and their sounds reflect and respond to each other nicely, but rather than blend together and merge into one whole the music has a feel of real clarity to it, each sound, be it the breathy soft notes from Denley’s reeds, the plucked acoustic notes from Myhr or Zach’s pointillistic gamelanesque percussion. In his review a while back, Brian spoke of how the music had an Eastern feeling to it. Maybe I am just hearing this as a result of catching up on Brian’s words but I hear a similar tone to the music, the percussion and in particular the flute sounds pointing out that way. The guitar normally pulls the music back from that direction, either through the metronomic picked notes repeated here and there to the trembling whirr that characterises Entropy, the last and at nine minutes the longest of the seven pieces here. This final piece is a little heavier, perhaps the only track that feels like something we might have heard before, veering towards more extended, almost droning sounds.

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