Angharad Davies /Tisha Mukarji/Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga

Another Timbre at 51

Fluid yet integrated chamber improv consisting of tiny gestures stretched to their limits Outwash is structured so that its cumulative density still allows each participant’s unique sonic patterns to be heard. Named for a geological term that describes a plain of varying thickness formed from the melted water and sediment deposited at the edge of a glacier the CD’s three tracks seem to be as solid as a glacier’s surface. Yet like a sheet of outwash, on closer examination units of varied thickness, size and length are present.

Dealing with such an unconventional approach it’s not surprising that two of the participants have extra-musical backgrounds, Berlin-based pianist Tisha Mukarji for instance is also an artist, while London-based zither player Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga is an academic specializing in linguistics. Another Londoner, violinist Angharad Davies is the only full-time musician here. But her playing experience has encompassed everything from pop to so-called classical music, although the majority of her recent work has been consecrated to free-form improv.

Frequently encompassing extended silences, these pieces are gripping because they seem to exist in their own time frame with no exact beginning or end. That doesn’t means they’re formless however. While the narrative is flat-lined, it includes sequences of harsh, oscillating textures revealed as spicatto violin string stroking, equally harsh zither pops and measured piano rumbles. As the interface progresses, un-attributable whistles and Morse-code-like clicks give way to the dynamism engendered by the release of wound string pressure from all involved. With Davies applying pressure to multi-strings so that it sounds like more than one fiddle; Lazaridou-Chatzigoga repeating percussive patterns on her multi-stringed instrument; and Mukarji plucking, scrubbing and stroking her instrument’s internal stretched wires, convergence reaches a climax without every revealing its twine-like background.

Louder than the first sections, the concluding “Moraine” eventually becomes a wiggling, protoplasmic mass with metallic chips and flams simultaneously created by the other instruments eventually accompanied by piano key depreciation, plus rebounding textures from the soundboard, dampers and back frame. If tougher voicing makes it appears as if the piano is gradually being split asunder then bow-see-sawing from Davies provides the proper tremolo backing. Eventually the gong-like timbres subside into a lower-case juddering drone, which remains slightly audible until the suite concludes.

Less stolid and immovable than a real glacier, Outwash is still sufficiently abstract to discourage the dilettante. Careful concentration on its evolution though brings unexpected aural rewards.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Glacier 2. Meltwater 3. Moraine

Personnel: Angharad Davies (violin); Tisha Mukarji (piano) and Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga (zither)