15 CWN TrioThirtyNine FiftyFive
Acheulian handaxe AHA 2202 (handaxe.org) 

Creatively exploring timbres extracted from instruments stretched to their expected limits during a playing time of almost 40 minutes (see title), the Köln-based C/W|N trio dynamically formulates a languid exposition with linear asides. Slovenian pianist Dušica Cajlan concentrates on pointillist keyboard strokes, intermittent silences and echoing throbs on tightly wound internal strings; Austrian Georg Wissel tongue-slaps and squeaks augmented and gurgling split tones from deep inside his alto saxophone’s body; and German Etienne Nillesen eschews a regularized pulse for pinpointed slaps, rubs and whirls from the top and sides of his single extended snare drum.

Although the potential for musical discombobulation seems maximized, individual tone exploration evolves as realized tonal investigation, not grandstanding. Each improviser is able to sense others’ procedures with near clairvoyance. That means no matter how many instances of keyboard comping, radical percussion cranks or strained reed overblowing are heard they never have a singular function. Instead, an equivalent intermittent and understated continuum is simultaneously generated by the others. Taken together each technical instrumental prod is eventually interlaced into a slow moving transformative sequence that also underlines quiet but robust ensemble work. While exposing unexpected variants of each instrument’s range C/W|N eventually creates a program of profound horizontal association.

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