Bertrand Denzler: tenor saxophone
Burkhard Beins: percussion, objects, small electrics
Trio Sowari’s first release, Three Dances, was one of the musical highlights of 2005. Happily, their follow-up, Shortcut, is every bit as good. One of things that’s particularly impressive about it is tenor saxophonist Bertrand Denzler’s astute deployment of the mostly unorthodox sounds he draws from his instrument. In some quarters it has been argued that saxophones are an anathema to EAI, that they sit uncomfortably in the music. Denzler proves otherwise. His blasts of tuned air and percussive pad tapping blend superbly with Burkhard Beins’s largely textural rather than percussive approach to his kit, especially when Beins makes swishing sounds by gently rubbing one of his drumskins with a block of polystyrene. Beins also plays ‘small electrics’, which merge with Phil Durrant’s software samplers and treatments.
Particularly good examples of the trio’s textural interplay can be heard on Corridor and the pointillistic track that immediately follows it, Dots #1. Running to almost ten minutes, the latter track is one of the lengthiest on the aptly titled Shortcut; most are half that length or less, and the five parts of Piercing, with which the CD begins, total less than four minutes. But even when the trio is working in Webernian miniature there’s nothing insubstantial about the music, it’s robust and emphatic, merely stripped of inessentials. Though ideas are sometimes teased out at length, as on Trespassing, the turnover of events is often surprisingly swift – or perhaps it just seems like that because the music is consistently engaging.
Brian Marley l Signal To Noise l March 2009