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Twinkle3: "Let's make a solar system"

img  Tobias

The high arts are indeed catching up to the 21st century: Confusing musical messages flash like diods on a switchboard. Websites of contemporary composers are being search-engine-optimised. Each day, Myspace accounts are spinning complex soundscapes in never-ending loops for millions of visitors. The wildest cross-over-experiments are sent back and forth through email, social networks and web-based collaboration tools. Twitter is quickly turning into the new creative morse-code, into a haiku for the mobile generation: Profound perceptions of music conveniently crammed into 140 characters. There is a guy who reviews entire albums in a single tweet - what would he make of „Let's make a Solar System“? „Three renowned improvisers team up for a work of dreamy Electronica. Careful development of motives. Mood. Sequences. Shakuhachi." Indeed: Everything has been said.

Or maybe it hasn't. Yes, the facts are all there: The album features a trio whose combined experience in the field of sonic exploration easily justifies claims of them constituting a friendly supergroup. Over decade-long careers, their reach has been global, their appeal broad, their sound eclectic. While Richard Scott has immersed himself in the world of modular synthesizers and untiring acoustic curiosity, David Ross' continuous journeys to the heart of the moment have made him one of the UK's most revered improvisers. Clive Bell, on the other hand, has worked with artists as different as Jah Wobble, David Sylvian and Karl Jenkins – signs of a mind finely attuned to music's inherent qualities rather than public images. The fine friction between Ross' and Scott's digital dots and dances and his Shakuhachi lines is indeed one of the most distinct characteristics of „Solar System“, which makes a point of contrasting organic-  with synthetic material, mood work with proficiently unfolding themes and tranquilly agitated passages with intricately agitated tranquility.

And yet, there is so much more: The fountains of bits and bleeps shooting from Scott's Buchla like acoustic rainbows from a slow-motion canon. The recurring emotional swell of Ross' Hawaiian Tremoloa Guitar. Bell's Flute signals, occasionally reduced to a single, rising, sustained and decaying tone. The title track consists of two segments and a reprise, all of them delicate variations of the same material, bubbling rhythmical patterns underpinning drones, melodies, breaths and sound effects as discreet as the sound of crickets on the outer edge of the horizon. There is no such thing as repetition here, each version a completely autarkic work in its own right differentiated by context and development. In the more minimally arranged tracks, Bell's solos ring out meditatively in front of sparse gong sounds and shifting constellations of de-harmonically intertwined lines. A Bass will play a moony sequence of notes only to disappear again behind a curtain of electronica, before a pattern has been able to establish itself.

Throughout, the layering of the music and the seamless passing on of the baton takes on seminal importance. Much more than a regular ensemble of improvisers, Twinkle3 combine into a fluctuating musical entity not dissimilar to a solar corona, constantly brimming with light-filled energy, yet only occasionally releasing itself in volcanic outbursts. This intense metaphor may belie the quiet nature of the album, which always sounds as though someone were raising his finger to lips, careful not to rupture the gentle equilibrium, which seems to be at the core of the performers' aims. Unlike many comparable efforts, however, it also notably sounds as though everyone must have been smiling while recording this - making a Solar System may be a much more intuitive and happy affair than some may have thought. The music, meanwhile, withdraws both from easy explanations and mythical transfiguration. 140 characters could not nevr do justice to this: Only after one has fully and emphatically embraced this flow of outward contradictions, reinforcements, melody, harmony, mood, texture, metaphors and allusions has everything truly been said.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: ini itu Records

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