• 1. GATEWAY ONE (13:13)
  • 2. GATEWAY TWO (12:03)
  • 3. GATEWAY THREE (11:19)
  • 4. GATEWAY FOUR (15:28)
  • 5. GATEWAY FIVE (15:37)
  • 6. GATEWAY SIX (09:55)
  • 7. VIENNA ONE (35:01)
  • 8. VIENNA TWO (38:54)

Gateway to Vienna

Double Bass – John Edwards
Percussion – Mark Sanders
Piano – Veryan Weston

VERYAN WESTON piano, JOHN EDWARDS double bass, MARK SANDERS drums. Following the critical success of their Mercury Concert , this finest of piano/bass/drums acoustic improvising groups can be heard in two major helpings of music - six medium-length pieces recorded at Gateway Studios in London, and two extended workouts from a gig at the Porgy & Bess Club in Vienna. 152 minutes.

Excerpts from sleeve notes:
The logic of free improvisation could be summed up as follows: the music could at every moment be other than it is, and yet at every moment it is what it seems it should be. This means merely a state of balance, in itself only the point between ascent and fall, where they slow each other down without any of these moments having an absolute value. Neither the first, appearing in a movement born of silence, already snatched forward by becoming; nor even the last, which here often depends, and with such coherence, on a consummate art of suspense.

In this game, all the qualities of interplay are not quite enough. It is also necessary that nothing be played without remaining always in play. So that each person's playing makes all play, and the collective playing creates the stakes in this game. Playing and making play. Playing the game means being faithful to what is at stake but also discarding - digressing and stepping aside. The game is to make others play.

On this trio's stage, many parts are often being played at once, panels are sliding, moving false perspectives into the centre and leaving the real passage to a mirror in the corner; one will recognise it only later when the next hand has already been dealt. From the art of those who built the pyramids our musicians have borrowed the colossal energy required to construct these solar mountains of simple and perfect forms, but especially they've retained the genius for labyrinths, these tortuous shadow-mazes which lead to the obscure secret heart. Heart of silence, that staggering end of adventurous exploration, the hollow cast of a mobile, its negative, here reached and opened several times. Nothing conceptual about this silence: it is a heart.

The surface pantonalism of Weston which is at once fluent and laconic conceals no end of melodies in its crosshatching, a proliferation of furtive cells, a saturation of ladders coming and going between the levels of a veritably Escherian mill, driven by its own falling. This music evaporates as magically as it condenses, spreads out its coral innards, digests or rejects constantly all the materials to hand. Mark Sanders produces such materials in abundance: brassy whistlings, puddles of sheet-iron, bundles of sticks, piles of logs, outpourings from many sources. John Edwards lights up the scene, makes edges glow, absorbs the flat tint and gives a profile to the shadows scanned by undulating pulses. And underground, the roles are exchanged. For here, men, music, are all one: the brains and the hands, thought, action and sonic transaction are but different states of matter organising itself. Mobile and labyrinth are just two images of this changing of distribution of energies and densities. Each listener may discover these models whenever they manifest themselves most clearly.

The music of this trio is continuous. It folds in on itself, loosens, folds again, vanishes then bursts out. Sometimes it seems to deny itself, to erase itself the way that when a flock of lapwings makes a flight turn their dark multitude shines suddenly, brightest white, mirroring like a shoal of fish. It pursues itself between these reappearances: life has neither end nor form. Its forms end unceasingly in it, indifferent to these abandoned shells. Given off by duration. The wonder - this is the uniqueness of the ensemble - is that this happens within a kind of stylistic limbo which in today's musical topography accumulates handicaps: a piano, tempered instrument, black keys, white keys, fixed keys; a piano trio (litany here: from Earl Hines through Cecil Taylor, and the rest…) etc. Trapped in this network of references, our three 'Machine-men' flow like water through the nets. Mobile mirror of the Great Mobile. The water of life. Free, the source of all the stories. Of universal memory, the unfindable memory of time.
PHILIPPE ALEN (2004)
Translated by CAROLINE KRAABEL

Album label: 
Release date: 
01.01 / 2004
Recording date: 
13.12 / 2003
Recording location: 
1-6 London, 7-8 Vienna (2002 May 10)
Credits:
Artwork design : Veryan Weston & Matin Davidson
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Mixing engineer : Veryan Weston
Recording engineer : Steve Lowe (1-6)

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