Ken Filiano / Vinny Golia / Joëlle Léandre

Haunting the Spirits Inside Them...

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This collective improvisation, recorded in one day in 1992, is a study in contrasts, textures, and timbral and tonal aesthetics. With Léandre and Filiano both playing bass and Golia playing a host of flutes from all over the world as well as a trio of clarinets, there is in essence a huge palette of colors and moods to choose from. From the eerie opening arco notes Léandre sends out on "Kaprona," with Filiano's quick yet restrained pizzicato bursts, the tone is set for a slow meditation on darkness and even despair. But as the piece goes on and Golia moves from the deeply meditative sonorities of his shakuhachi to an A clarinet, new figures begin to emerge. As the trio begins to move toward one another rather than making brief statements in space, the face of hope begins to reveals itself in a tight series of modulations and pitch variations. Léandre is in control; she is the master of tonal inquiry and pitch control -- having held them sometimes for hours in the music of her late companion, the composer Giacinto Scelsi. As her voice begins to ride atop a series of bass chords, the emotion is fleshed out and the tune ends on a note of freely associated questions and possible fissures in the darkness. There are two bass duets here -- "None That Are for Hugo" and "Above the Age of Reason" -- and while different in approach, the first is a study in catharsis and raw emotion, the second in tonal linguistics; they span the color and texture gamut. Golia has a gorgeous solo opportunity in "Empty Places Where We Walk"; this utilizes Chinese flute and A clarinet and is a study in dynamics and timbral modulation that echoes long after the piece ends. Ultimately, however, it is in the group improvisations that the true spiritual nature of this recording is revealed. Telepathy would be understating the insistent, yet respectful flow of ideas that move through the trio as they map out languages and dialects in order to speak to one another; there are intervallic dialogues, contrapuntal attacks and feints, and shimmering oceans of glissando whispering that make this the musically unclassifiable brilliant recording that it is.

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