magda mayas - piano, laura altman - clarinet, monika Brooks - accordion
From 2008 Laura Altman and Monika Brooks' duo excited the Sydney experimental scene, (of which they were important contributors), with quiet, ambiguous, ephemeral music - they treated duration as if it were precious.
Spawned from the Splinter Orchestra (splitrec 17), and mutated by current viruses, Altman's clarinet and Brook's accordion fused, not with lines, but with pools of sound, coexisting in an ecology that had no clear beginning or end - a calmly focussed, infinite field. As such, it was a seminal Sydney impro project.
In January 2009 the Berlin-based pianist Magda Mayas collaborated with them on a memorable performance at Sydney's Now now Festival. Mayas injected not only an array of startling sounds, but insistent motion to contrast the stasis.
Two years later they reconvened as a band for an intense period - a return appearance at the 2011 Now now Festival, gigs around Sydney, the SoundOut Festival Canberra and finally this studio session.
Great Waitress initially possessed a dual processor - the long durations and static patience of the duo and Mayas's compulsion for change. This created a vital rub - there was an edge between these world views. But as they evolved over this period, this duality splintered into multiplicity.
Altman burrows in, shunning overt virtuosity - innovative without ever pulling focus.
Brooks surrounds, filling in holes, creating connections, placing tones without reference to clichéd modules – 'melody' and 'harmony' are terms that she will make us all rethink.
They both enter and exit by stealth, making the threshold latent with energy.
Mayas is vitality and violence - interjecting, creating new nodes, often armed with two or three simultaneous streams.
If the duo suggested an infinite field then the collective conjures forces that make the music genuinely cosmic.
Multiplicity emerges in Great Waitress through virtuosic collective listening, and creates a unique lucidity. This is intricate, complex music – but as the last track shows, they can also converge to make the monumental.