Magda Mayas / Damon Smith / Tony Buck – Spill Plus


The embedding of double bassist Smith within the proven creativity of Mayas and Buck’s “regular” Spill embodiment provides additional depth and low-frequency gravity to the duo’s meticulous investigation of a precise sonic compass. The outcome of this experiment is a record that demands concentration from the first to the last second and, most definitely, recurring spins just to observe the aboveground of a remarkable gradualness not hindered by complexity.

The keyword is “connection”. In certain records belonging to related areas of improvisation we often perceive a bare list of shades, particles and noises occurring without an actual sense of control and genuine engagement of the (theoretical) receivers. Here we stand at the opposite side, as the wavering steps of the opening “Wake” immediately give an impression of awareness in regard to the musicians’ purpose. Semi-organized structures disclose a plurality of dynamic partitions. All the hues between “percussive” and “ringing” are highlighted by the trio’s focused intensity. Willful motions — entirely dictated by intuition — are mentally delineated as one proceeds through the six chapters. The instrumental features are rendered zippier by twinkling metallic accents and stubborn pounding of the piano’s higher register, becoming encircled by mystery as the interaction shifts towards places where the material is less intelligible, scarcely reposeful and defined by a murkier grain. This does not exclude moments of (relative) humor, for instance when spring-like “boings” materialize from nowhere, lightening up the tension connected to the “what now?” expectancy.

“Diffluence” is perhaps the most accomplished representation of Spill Plus‘ composite attractiveness. Principled droning, unlikely reverberations and puzzling mixes of variable sources evolve from sheer patchwork to responsive on-the-spot arrangement in a matter of minutes. The perturbed sky of precariousness is cut by unsuspected sun rays; a sometimes enigmatic decentralization opens the doors of a better understanding. Not limited to the music.