Phil Durrant: software sampler, synthetiser, treatments
Bertrand Denzler: tenor saxophone
Burkhard Beins: percussion, objects
Recorded in November 2004, this debut album by Trio Sowari offers a considerable dose of high-end electro-acoustic improv. Then again, connoisseurs of the genre expect no less from Phil Durrant, Burkhard Beins, and the ubiquitous Bertrand Denzler, whose discography grows as quickly as his stature.
Forget the "dance" paradigm generated by the album and track titles, and the cover artwork -- delightfully kitsch, incidentally. There is nothing to be danced to on this record, not even a single beat. Actually, there might not even be a single stroke, as Beins is much more a brusher and a bower than a striker, when it comes to percussion. Sit this one out and listen instead.
There is a wonderful level of mimicry and intricacy between Denzler's breathy techniques (he rarely plays a note), Durrant's electronics (including a software sampler), and Beinz's textural sounds, especially in the 25-minute Tumble, exquisitely sparse and detailed until everyone locks up in a raspy mood for a grating finale that should leave you speechless. Distinguishing individual contributions gets tricky at times, but the exercise does have its entertaining value. Nevertheless, the album works best when you let go of such considerations, accept the music for the collective effort that it is, and surrender to its troubled imagery and uncanny choreographical aspects. Rondo and Bolero -- respectively 16 and 11 minutes long -- contain very strong moments, but Tumble is the true reason to acquire Three Dances.
François Couture l All Music Guide l August 2005
2004 THREE DANCES