Another Timbre TimHarrisonbre

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at12      dun

Matt Davis  -  trumpet & field recordings

Matt Milton - violin

Bechir Saade  -  bass clarinet & flute

1.    21:17

2.    13:57

3.    14:09

TT:  49:25

recorded at the Church of St.James the Great,

Friern Barnet, north London, November 2007

Youtube extract

dun begins with a spectrum of Bechir Saade’s bass clarinet multiphonics spooning against the muted hum of Matt Davis’s trumpet - this keenly heard music requires keen listening.  The trio are following that strain of British Improv interested in amplifying the quiet and concentrating on minute gestural nuance.  Davis does his best to cloak his instrumental identity and Milton’s violin is a chameleon: is that high register flicker a tremolo squeak from his instrument, or is Davis squeezing all the juice he can from his electronic sound sources?  An eloquent statement.”

                                                                                                                                                  - Philip Clark, The Wire

“Finally comes dun, a very fine, expansive and at the same time bracingly spartan set by Davis (trumpet. field recordings), Milton (violin) and Saade (bass clarinet and flute).  Three longish cuts, each carving out a wedge of space, sharply defined as to overall shape even as the elements making up the volume are sparely distributed.  The latter half of the second track, all a-twitter, is especially beautiful.  Really enjoyable, intelligent music.  Nice batch of releases overall from an excellent label.”                                                                                     - Brian Olewnick, Just Outside

“For once there is a slightly less anonymous cover than is usual for a cd issued on ‘another timbre’.  The cover photo is very mysterious and evocative; a lake covered in thick mist, and in its muddy waters, apart from the reflected vegetation, there is something which appears to be the superimposed drawing of a human form.  Or perhaps I’m wrong and it’s something else?  Looking more closely I can’t really be sure.  But the fact is that this dark and desolate landscape truly complements the music of Bechir Saade, Matt Davis and Matt Milton.  Within this ‘dun’ landscape in which a dark blanket seems to cover everything up to the horizon just a soft breath can produce a spark of life.  As if in an animistic rite, a tragedy is being recounted silently and subconsciously, revealing its deep sadness.  It’s impossible to ignore the dramatic and mystical nature of this music, especially because, to my ears at least , nearly every cd on this English label seems to share this particular stylistic feature.  And, needless to say, this disc was recorded inside a church.  But none of this is a problem, especially when - as here - the music is of such high quality.  Right from the start it casts its spell.  The wind instruments of Saade and Davis embrace one another elegantly, mixing blasts and polyphonic screeches that could practically dismantle the world with warmer and more traditional sounds, principally from the trumpet, near-melodies which unfold gently from the very start of the opening track.  The remainder of that piece is more inscrutable, with the two winds often exchanging dialogues as if through an extremely sparse morse code.  Davis’ contribution is outstanding; thin and discrete, yet always designed to support the work of the violin, which produces sounds that are sometimes searing, and sometimes gently grating.  But his use of field recordings is even more remarkable, appearing as a shock or a flash of lightning.  The original sources of the recordings might be natural sounds that are then reprocessed, but given the unorthodox instrumentation, it is impossible to know more.  They occur throughout the cd, but especially at some of the most enchanting moments, producing a kind of surreal conversation, as in the final minutes of the second track, or the eerily sinister (electronic?) sound that ends that piece.  Everything is very abstract, drawn with rather elusive strokes, but endowed with its own intimate coherence and a precise and natural flow that makes ‘dun’ a small marvel.  Very beautiful.”                                       - Alfio Castorina, Kathodik

“The Another Timbre label often puts an emphasis on restrained, almost minimalistic approaches to music, evoking a mood of reflectiveness, meditation or even natural mysticism or religiousness.  This album is no exception.  It is as though the three musicians create music from a kind of natural silence.  The sounds used could be described as either spartan or precise, depending on how you view the whole, and how much you appreciate this sort of silence.  For there are different kinds of silence, and here silence is always thoughtful and focused.  The music was recorded in a church and the whisperings and scrapings of Matt Davis’ trumpet and Matt Milton’s violin exemplify a form of English free improvisation which arguably springs from a certain type of Protestantism, and which is of course very beautiful.

However for me it is the contribution of flautist and bass clarinettist Bechir Saade that really raises the temperature.  His musical schooling was in Lebanon, and his playing combines brilliant traditional instrumentalism with extreme avant-garde bravery.  The combination is almost intoxicating, and delightfully original.  I don’t mean to be disparaging if I say that it is his playing that gives that provides the real substance of the session.  The English musicians fill out and colour the lines which Bechir draws out with masterly precision.  His sensitivity of finger and lip combined with the deep sensuality of an epicure is the lasting impression of this album.”                    -  Thomas Millroth,  Sound of Music

"dun provides the gist of what silence would sound like when surrounded by three master musicians.  Sure, Matt Davis plays the trumpet and provides a slew of field recordings and Matt Milton plays the violin, while Bechir Saade plays bass clarinet and flute, but the main preoccupation on this trio disc is the incorporation of silence.  The cracks and utter dead sound amidst the instrumentation is as important as the music emanating from the musicians themselves.  Sometimes the air is instilled with the sound of Saade striking the sides of his flute, while Davis provides a light hushing soundtrack.  At other times, one hears the slow strains of Milton's violin, which are accompanied by occasional hick-ups of Davis' trumpet.  When Saade plays his flute in extended succession during the final track, the other two join in with a combination of thoughtful grace and utmost technique.  The pacing of the record is morosely sluggish, which suits the trio just fine.  It's the fat pauses waiting around the bend that are hauntingly integral in this music that requires the listener's utmost attention.  Stunning and heart-stopping music.”                           -  Tom Sekowski, Gaz-eta

“This is a recording from November last year.  I have never heard of Matt Milton, whereas the other two already have a rising reputation in the world of improvised music.  This is improvised music from the world of sound, rather than from the world of instruments.  A world in which silence, or near silence, is as important as producing a sound.  A sound is produced, left by itself and then the wait starts for another sound: the three players watch each other, in full concentration and then a new event happens. Certainly not music to put and leave on, and do something else, but to be listened to with full concentration.  One that unfolds its beauty in a similar peaceful way to that in which it was produced.”

                                                                                                                                             - Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

“Dun is an album whose fecundity is inversely proportional to its lean constitution, which at various times takes us back to the early days of EAI when "reductionism" wasn't yet an over-abused definition, or an outright banality. Trumpeter Davis and bass clarinettist Saade, having already established their improvising personalities through a string of considerable collaborations and projects, are joined here by violinist Matt Milton for a three-way exchange that never strays from the zone where dynamics fluctuate between p and ppp. Eviscerating the secluded parts of their tools, they wander across godforsaken peripheries of uneven vibrations, liquid fluttering, weakened harmonics and enlightened reclusiveness, with Saade's undulating partials and Davis's reticent off-the-record statements interspersed with sections where all one perceives is a sound of termites gnawing at the wood of a vacant house, creaking noise and nocturnal movement asphyxiated by the all-pervading murmur of an irrepressible isolation. Milton's approach to the violin, which in part recalls Ernesto Rodrigues' infinitesimal viola inspections, is definitely not extraneous to this threadbare simulacrum of acoustic decay. Davis is also credited with "field recordings", but you'd be hard put to say where the actual playing ends and the pre-recorded sounds begin.”        -   Massimo Ricci.  ParisTransatlantic


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