(Another Timbre)

On the label’s website, an interview with violinist Angharad Davies and cellist Anton Lukoszeviese clarifies the circumstances of their first collaboration with composer and improviser Klaus Lang. For the occasion, the latter joined the colleagues via a barely working harmonium bought on eBay by Ryoko Akama, curator of the event where Unfurling was performed. However, the version appearing on this CD was recorded in the afternoon preceding the actual concert.

Davies and Lukoszeviese speak enthusiastically about the naturalness of the music’s evolution during the meeting. This writer was instead picturing a child trying, with a fair amount of effort, to fly a kite. The preliminary assemblage of apparently disjointed components. The arrival of a favorable current, the elevation towards the blue, the multicolored reflection of sunlight through the aeriform structure. The innocent joy, symbol of a connection whose significance will linger on, deep inside, for the entirety of life. All this came to mind while listening to Lang’s harmonium — the lone instrument with unfluctuating pitches — escorted by the wonderful gliding of violin and cello. The glory resulting from the shifting chordal drones generated by those movements is almost painful.

At one point, the whole suddenly stops. A silence containing tonal ghosts, micro-noises, whispered harmonics. The interaction becomes less momentous, but we’re still within the confines of serious introspection. From here a second mantra arises, more dissonant than the previous one. Harsher superimpositions cause our membranes to oscillate like a seismograph, the timbres getting dirtier in the process of amalgamation. This uncomfortable potential is enhanced by bow strokes and held tones. One thinks of a somewhat restrained force, the awareness of owning the means for a decisive change of position in the universal reality, without really using it.

Of course it’s just an illusion. The finale sees the musicians returning to the original source, circling around each other in a spontaneous canon based on undetermined scalar melodies before ending the set in utter abstraction. A decompression of sorts after the transcendental experience, the inevitable vanishing of a spiritually improved condition. We’re back to mere humanity. The sublimity of sound turns again into raw matter, the purely physical state from which everything began.