The musicians, although they know each other perfectly and have played trillions of sounds together, begin the concert in the formula of small exploratory phrases, minimalist loops, which look for common paths for the further journey. They are happy to use pauses and suspensions of narration at this stage of the concert. A few touches of prepare on the part of the viola, while the flow of the guitar seems to be more swinging. The musicians allow themselves the first, small salvos of expression after only a few minutes. They build a story out of small details, they are constantly looking for dramatic hooks, and they do it all - which is obvious! - with great freedom and certainty of every phrase, remaining in great communication. Just a stylish free chamber, but with sharp claws!
The fifth minute marks the first narrative stopping point. A handful of sensual short-cuts, scrubbing the strings and searching for new sounds. In this small-field game, the two instruments are able to swap sounds. For a while the viola sounds like a guitar, and the guitar sounds like a viola. After a short time the viola starts to whine, as if it got electricity between the strings, but instead of escalation the musicians decide on a beautiful phase of playing with nuances of sound, done definitely with the manual down. They barely touch the strings, afraid to breathe louder. Another stopping point comes at the end of the twelfth minute. Both musicians create string slow motion. The tormented strings groan like captive coyotes. A return to dynamics occurs after another five minutes, accompanied by meta shouts and then even a small gallop.
The final silence breakdown occurs at the twenty-sixth minute. Microphrases, barely stroked strings of clean guitar and prepared viola. Here, the dynamics is built up by sequences of minimalist angles and burrs, as well as impressive wrestling with the strings' tension. The peak of expression this time seems to have some dancing qualities, especially on the part of the viola. For the finale, the musicians cook us up a thicket of wonders, impressive rasps and surprising half-melodies. Before the last note sounds, the viola launches a percussive attack that the guitar is unable to fully repel. A salvo of emotions, full of singing phrases, crowns the concert. (Spontaneous Music Tribune)
released February 27, 2021
Benedict Taylor : viola
Dirk Serries : acoustic archtop guitar
1. Live in concert at Koffie & Ambacht (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) on June 6th, 2019.
2. Live in concert at De Werkplaats (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) on June 7th, 2019.
3. Live in concert at Guy Peters’ Living Room concert series (Geraardsbergen, Belgium) on June 9th, 2019.
All concerts recorded and mixed by Dirk Serries.
Mastered at Sunny Side Inc. Studio (Anderlecht, Belgium).
Artists photo by Jan Kees Helms.