Bryn Harrison – Receiving the Approaching Memory

(Another Timbre)

The accuracy of each gesture in Receiving The Approaching Memory is directly proportional to the feeling of unclouded poetry conveyed by Bryn Harrison’s music, released by Another Timbre for the second time after 2013’s Vessels. This reviewer has been exclusively focusing on the album for days, an unequivocal sign of gratitude for the disclosure of an unpretentious masterpiece. In terms of sheer imagery, the comparison is that of a blackbird singing in front of the placid waters of a lake, the latter somehow mirroring those sounds in a wonderful connection between the bird’s jargon and the environmental reverberations.

Willing to stick to stringently factual issues, this is a five-movement composition lasting circa 38 minutes, with extremely short pauses interrupting the continuum. Violinist Aisha Orazbayeva — whose playing, merging skill and tenderness, is outstanding — specializes in modern composers while also working in experimental/improvisational settings, her instrumental versatility expressed with compelling naturalness. Mark Knoop is the ideal partner and a virtuoso as well: his sympathetic pianism furnishes the interplay with reflectiveness and grace, echoes of remote derivation enhancing the overall beauty.

There should be no necessity to categorize this small gem. However, on the label’s website a critique appears which, before ending on a slightly more constructive note, describes the piece as follows: “I strained to hear the slightest hint of a pattern, a recognisable shift in key or register, a change in dynamics or pacing or phrasing, the merest lip service to formal development, and heard none. This constant river of babble struck me as frustrating and tedious; who would want to listen to such chaos repeated over and over again, meticulously performed as it was?” Without even taking into account the lack of technical cognition prompting these words I, too, have heard of people getting irritated by birds (whose songs are, exactly like this music, based on interconnected patterns signifying a touching wholeness). If you experience opposite reactions, then consider yourselves fortunate to be capable of distilling drops of vibrational verity from the barrenness of the mind.