Now here's a model of European cooperation, a group that could supply a soundtrack for some major EU gathering of dignitaries: Phil Durrant from London, Bertrand Denzler from Switzerland, resident in Paris, and Burkhard Beins from Germany, recorded in a French studio and released on a French label. On second thoughts, Trio Sowari's vocabulary, the noise of faulty wiring and industrial evisceration, may not appeal to nervy politicos reeking of toothpaste. The organisation of those sounds is intensely musical, a combo of painstaking patience and improvisational juggling, but the sounds themselves are hardly ever 'musical'. The fairy twinkle of Beins's music box at the top of "Bolero" comes as quite a shock. His percussion generally favours the gritty circular wipe, while Denzler pumps air through his tenor sax to produce any post-John Butcher sound you like so long as it's not a note. Group leader Durrant's electronics have a remarkable physicality that merges well with Denzler's world of breath. On "Bolero" Durrant goes old school with satisfying spaceship noises, while we imagine knobs twiddling and dials flickering. The concepts underlying this music may have been forged in the icy, subterranean caves of Reductionism, but there's generally plenty going on. The pace is slow, but you would never describe these three 'dances' as meditative. Superficially it may sound like white coated folk running equipment tests at your local biotech lab, but the important thing is that those concepts are firmly grasped. This is disciplined, focused music, the sound of people really thinking and playing, and close attention is consistently rewarded.
- Clive Bell, The Wire -

Phil Durrant first gained notice as a violinist working in the English free-improvisation milieu with John Butcher, John Russell, and Chris Burn, among others. In the past decade, he has worked extensively in groups like Mimeo, combining real-time electronics and manipulation with acoustic instruments, especially those using extended techniques. On Three Dances Durrant omits his violin entirely for sampler, synthesizer, and treatments. While Durrant works wholly in the electronic realm, his partners reside in the acoustic, with Bertrand Denzler playing tenor saxophone and Burkhard Beins playing percussion and objects. It is initially difficult to separate this music from its apparent processes. It is rarely clear what musician or instrument is doing what. A high whistle might be a synthesizer or a saxophone moving closer to a microphone. A listener unfamiliar with extended saxophone techniques could listen to the CD´s three improvisations without ever imagining that there's a tenor saxophone in the group. Like John Butcher, the Swiss Denzler, who has worked with John Wolf Brennan and the French group Hubbub, uses circular breathing and an assortment of techniques emphasizing key and pad noise and the grainy, gritty passage of air through the instrument to create a vocabulary of sounds that can suggest bats playing a pipe organ in a chasm. Similarly, Beins´ collection of clicks and rattles do not immediately suggest a particular source, but expand in the hyper-resonant space that may be a compound of the acoustic and electronic. Oddly enough, it is the occasional wobble of an oscillator that is the least abstract, the most readily traceable to its source. The idea of non-attribution of a sound seems central to this music. Its approach to identity (of sounds, players, listeners) is one with its approach to process and time. The acoustic and the electronic, the original and the treated, blur, exchange, and become one. The process becomes more explicit as the three pieces advance from the relatively sparse Rondo and Bolero to the longer Tumble, with its dense washes of sound and sustained whistles that stretch time to the breaking point. It is a new auditory space coming into being before (after?) our ears - a tranquil, meditative delight.
- Stuart Broomer, Musicworks -

Trio Sowari are Phil Durrant (software sampler, synth, treatments) Bertrand Denzler (tenor sax) and Burkhard Beins (percussion, objects). Minute unemotional impatience and saucy irony form a forestry of small-sound slipstreams where domesticity can suddenly become a monstrous notepad of thwart perspectives. Deep hums, stumped carillons and strange waves mix with crunching ultrasonic activity in an unauthorized industrialization of little sonic secrets becoming more and more seductive in their reclusive dimension; the perfect proportionality of the overall spectrum does the rest, while one struggles to divide the hissing and the clucking in the saxophone conduits from the uncomfortable emissions splashing out of computers and percussion. A high-level conversation among three fine improvising oracles who modify their self-absorbed thoughts, drawing magnificent irregular geometries with them.
- Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes -

Phil Durrant's Sowari (Acta, 1997) was a striking personal statement using acoustic violin and electronics to transform sound within structured settings for improvisa-tion. His solo efforts along with his participation in a trio with Radu Malfatti and Thomas Lehn, a duo with John Butcher, and the earliest incarnation of MIMEO provided arresting contexts for pushing the interactions of real-time electronic processing and acoustic extended techniques. Almost a decade on, and this trio with Durrant on sampler, synthesizer, and treatments; Bertrand Denzler on tenor; and Burkhard Beins on percussion shows how this vocabulary continues to be absorbed and extended. All three have extensive experience working in this kind of setting. Denzler may be the least well known, though he has been making his mark working at the edges of extended reed techniques with musicians like Sophie Agnel, Hans Koch, and the group Hubbub. Beins is an inveterate explorer as well, warping the micro-timbres of percussion instruments in Activity Center (his duet with guitarist Michael Renkel), Sealed Knot (with Mark Wastell and Rhodri Davies), the Berlin ensemble Phosphor, and ina bristling duet with Keith Rowe (captured on the recent Erstlive disk on ErstWhile.) The titular Three Dances play out as varying collective structures. The first, Rondo , builds waves of quiet gurgles and buzzing hums with deliberate pacing and meticulous use of space. Bass-heavy rumbles anchor the floating activity of popping reed flutters, scumbled percussion, and piercing high tones as the density and velocity of the piece gradually ebbs and flows. Bolero is much sparer, with sine tones and gritty crackles playing off of breathy reed textures and scraped percussion shot through with flourishes of metallic notes that sound like a toy xylophone. The final 25-minute Tumble is where the strengths of this group really come through. Here, the subtleties and space of the second piece are combined with the pace and flow of the first for an extended improvisation that balances collective dynamism with an overarching sense of structure as the three move between quiet pools and bracing peaks. It's another unqualified winner for Potlatch.
- Michael Rosenstein, Signal To Noise -

...microtoni-rumorismi, soffi, sbuffi, rombi e quadrati....
- Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow Up -

Recorded in November 2004, this debut album by Trio Sowari offers a considerable dose of high-end electro-acoustic improv. Then again, connoisseurs of the genre expect no less from Phil Durrant, Burkhard Beins, and the ubiquitous Bertrand Denzler, whose discography grows as quickly as his stature. Forget the "dance" paradigm generated by the album and track titles, and the cover artwork -- delightfully kitsch, incidentally. There is nothing to be danced to on this record, not even a single beat. Actually, there might not even be a single stroke, as Beins is much more a brusher and a bower than a striker, when it comes to percussion. Sit this one out and listen instead. There is a wonderful level of mimicry and intricacy between Denzler's breathy techniques (he rarely plays a note), Durrant's electronics (including a software sampler), and Beins' textural sounds, especially in the 25-minute "Tumble," exquisitely sparse and detailed until everyone locks up in a raspy mood for a grating finale that should leave you speechless. Distinguishing individual contributions gets tricky at times, but the exercise does have its entertaining value. Nevertheless, the album works best when you let go of such considerations, accept the music for the collective effort that it is, and surrender to its troubled imagery and uncanny choreographical aspects. "Rondo" and "Bolero" -- respectively 16 and 11 minutes long -- contain very strong moments, but "Tumble" is the true reason to acquire Three Dances
- François Couture , All Music Guide -

Trio Sowari is Phil Durrant (eschewing violin, packing electronics), tenor saxophonist Bertrand Denzler and ubiquitous percussion-meister Burkhard Beins. The three dances, archly titled "Rondo", "Bolero" and "Tumble", are rough `n´ ready improvs, each with its own strengths, picking up steam over the course of the disc. If recorded evidence is anything to go by, Beins has been getting more and more rambunctious in the last couple of years and he throws a great deal of (very fine) grit in the gears here, keeping the music swirling and skidding, veering toward the raucous with some regularity. (...) Three tracks, each long enough to allow the musicians to say what needs to be said without getting long- winded about it. There might be some comparison to what the Iberian crew has been up to lately insofar as the rough-edgedness (I´m trying not to use the term, "granular"!) and willingness to get loud while still managing to avoid the overly demonstrative or flamboyant. "Bolero" remains rather quiet, however, and is a very effective exploration of low rumble, soft super-high sine tones and gurgling breaths sandwiched between. "Tumble", at 25 minutes, is the knockout piece here‹wide ranging, beautifully paced, non-stop discovery of inherently lovely sound combinations, fine decision making. Its growth from the delicate, quiet middle section into the fire-breathing, roiling conclusion is startlingly dramatic. Not much else one can say. "Three Dances" is a strong outing, an excellent recording and a disc that, if you´re into this music at all, should be a no-brainer. Recommended.
- Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen -

As soon as a group of improvisers start working under the banner of a group name, one could say that there is a more or less permanent basis for concerts and recordings. I don't know if this is the case with Trio Sowari, but perhaps it is. Trio Sowari consists of Phil Durrant (software sampler, synth and treatments), Bertrand Denzler (tenor saxophone) and Burkhard Beins (percussion, objects). All three are well-known players in the world of improvised music. Perhaps tongue in cheek they choose three dances to name their pieces, 'Rondo', 'Bolero' and 'Tumble', but as you can probably imagine, none of these 'dances' are represented in the music, neither are they covers of say 'Blue Rondo A La Turk' or Ravel's 'Bolero'. In stead they offer some of the finest improvised playing around, a great examination of current day improvisation. Beins and Denzler play their instruments as objects, with Denzler occasionally blowing a few 'real' notes, but their playing works wonderfully well with Durrant electronica. It's not easy to tell if Durrant is sampling the other two guys; it could very well, but maybe there is input of his sounds. Each of the three pieces carefully moves along the lines of the inaudible and audible, fully demanding concentration. Top stuff in this genre.
- Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly -

Bertrand Denzler zum Dritten. Diesmal spielt er mit Phil Durrant und Burkhard Beins zum Tanz auf, 'Rondo', 'Bolero' & 'Tumble' heißen zumindest die Stücke, ein Fake, den das Cover ungeniert unterstützt. Andererseits, wenn man abstrahiert von jeglicher Anthropozentrik und auch den wüstenplanetaren Sandwürmern, Eiszeitgletschern und Kontinentalplatten ein Tanzbein zubilligt? Die Vektoren der Klangverschiebungen sind weitgehend horizontal gerichtet, ein flaches, oder besser gedrungenes Schaben und Schieben, moränenhaft, angeraut, zäh. Beladen mit Geröll, von Schmelzwasser unterminiert. Gurgelnde, schmatzende Geräusche, ein hohles Sprudeln und unterirdisches Schmurgeln begleitet die zeitvergessene Rutschbewegung. Die folgt nicht immer nur der Schwerkraft hin zum tiefsten Punkt. Interne Kräfte lassen die Klangformation Blasen werfen, Schollen schieben sich übereinander, krustige Kanten reiben aneinander. Beins so typischen Schab- und Streichgeräusche zischen - ab und zu lässt er auch Gegenstände aufs Trommelfell tocken - und sie verschmelzen mit den Schlürf- und Fauchklängen, die Denzler aus seinem Tenorhorn und -mundstück wringt und schnaubt, zu einem Amalgam. Durrant, von dessen E-Seite, die er im Duo mit John Butcher oder im Trio mit Matt Davis & Mark Wastell längst ausfeilte, auch schon bei Ticklish die Rede war, forciert diese Fusionen mit dünn geschliffenen elektronischen Nadeln, er lässt Mikropixel rotieren, den Grund statisch rauschen und Störimpulse knarzen. Die Sowari-Dynamik ist nicht so ohne Weiteres mit Vorstellungen von 'diskret' oder 'reduktionistisch' zu vereinbaren. Mitten in einer zarten Stelle, an der nur eine Spieluhr tickt, kann einem ein aufschrillendes Frequenzsägeblatt das halbe Ohr absäbeln. Denzler selbst hat mich zudem auf Parameter wie 'Langsamkeit', 'Raum' und 'Zwischenraum' hingewiesen, Parameter, die insbesondere Keith Rowe ins Vokabular der AMM-Tradition infiltrierte, die hier im Hintergrund mitrumort. Dazu gehört auch die 'Kraft der Zerbrechlichkeit' (Rowe), der Faktor, der mich zu Metaphern anregte, in denen die Kraft der Three Dances, aber nicht ihre Porösität und Fragilität sich vermitteln. Von der 'Schönheit' (igitt!) ganz zu schweigen, den "schönen asymmetrischen Formen" von denen Denzler so eloquent schwärmen kann. Dabei schätzt er die Situation sehr treffend ein: Solche Musik "ist Ernährung für ein paar Leute, die das brauchen oder gerne haben. Für diese ist diese Musik gar nicht esoterisch, sondern nur eine Musikart unter vielen... nicht soweit entfernt vielleicht von dem, was in gewissen sog. 'Volksmusikarten' passiert."Und er hat Recht - selbst wer die Schönheit und den Nährwert bezweifelt, der findet in Musik wie dieser doch immerhin "eine hygienisch notwendige Irritation... ein Thema, um nachzudenken."
- Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy -

Phil Durrant is one of the most important improvisers in Europe, yet one rarely encounters his name with anywhere near the frequency (or admiration). Part of a generation of players who, like saxophonist John Butcher, are highly influenced by the first wave of British free improvisation (not just Parker and Bailey, but John Stevens´ Spontaneous Music Ensemble), Durrant has also served as a key link between this style of improvisation and the newer styles of post-AMM improvisation. His projects are too numerous to list, but it is significant that this fine trio ­ Durrant (who leaves his violin in its case in favor of software sampler, synthesizer, and electronic treatments), tenor saxophonist Bertrand Denzler and percussionist Burkhard Beins ­ has chosen to name itself after Durrant´s 1996 solo recording on Acta. That disc represented one of Durrant´s earliest reconsiderations of his instrument and improvisational style, a register of his ongoing musical courage. And while this trio music isn´t exactly a wholesale reconceptualization, it is nonetheless a powerful document that focuses its energies in a provocative way. One of the misunderstandings most frequently encountered in and around electro-acoustic improvisation is that "nothing happens." There is no burning solo, no ass-rocking pulse, neither chamber repose nor extroverted wildness to shake you by the lapels. And yet, as the title of this disc interestingly suggests, one need not "dance" in any conventional sense in order to move freely. The titles of these three improvisations ­ "Rondo", "Bolero" and "Tumble" ­ constitute both an ironic gesture and an abstraction of the meaning of dance, where one thinks simply of bodies in motion rather than formal convention. And so it is that Trio Sowari focuses throughout on extensions of time and the layering of sound. It´s easy enough to pay attention simply to their techniques, that´s for sure. But the more you hear Beins´ grainy circular patterns, Durrant´s plangent backdrops, and Denzler´s wet, throaty burrowing, the more an almost contrapuntal quality emerges (though there is no stated pulse anywhere in this music). Their explorations also extend to reconsiderations of the customary dynamics of this kind of improvisation ("Rondo" raucous steam vents explode at peak levels, cooling down from there), and to the uses of disruption (the digital hiccups during the otherwise ethereal "Bolero"). But it´s really on the 25-minute "Tumble" where the music comes together, as low excavation sounds dance with the high sine waves. Overall, this is a really fine disc, one whose considered methodology doesn¹t undermine its moments of beauty.
- Jason Bivins, Dusted Magazine -

Le Trio Sowari de Phil Durrant (sampl, synth, traitements), Bertrand Denzler (ts) et Burkhard Beins (perc, obj) a chorégraphié ses Three dances (Potlatch P105, Dist. Orkhêstra) en studio fin 2004 : matériaux épars puis changeantes aspérités du bitume qui file discrètement sous les pieds (mâchefer, macadam rainuré, revêtement drainant, cendrée, se chevauchant brusquement dans des basculements de plans) ; l´exploration s´y déploie, exigeante, dans son temps propre et au coeur d´espaces qu´elle invente sur un spectre dynamique où la moindre variation ouvre de micro mondes à l´auditeur, très requis mais récompensé par cette âpre musique.
- Guillaume Tarche, Improjazz -

Listening to this disc is like walking around in a huge ultra-modern automated factory where the machines run smoothly, a place where you could pass a few hours and not feel queasy from any jarring or excessive noises. Assuming you're a fan of contemporary electroacoustic improvisation, that is. The key is that you're walking. Instead of static repetition, you're hearing shifts in the soundfield as different machines become audible and others recede into the background. Some machines are louder than others and every once in a while you pass a guy (Phil Durrant) sitting in front of a laptop who plays with some music software and makes cheesy generic electronic sounds instead of doing his job when nobody is around to notice. You think "hmm, that's weird", and then move along to a new blend of luxurious mechanical textures. The sounds are mostly in the low-mid range. They are unpitched or diffusely pitched. They tend to move in circles, like the sound of slowly dragging something in circles on a drum head. In fact, that could be what Burkhard Beins is doing rather often here. He is credited with percussion. Bertrand Denzler is credited with tenor saxophone. Yes, as far as I know, this fascinating and exotic soundscape of abstract moving textures is created largely with percussion and saxophone. You could play the whole disc and not suspect there is a saxophone or percussion instrument being used at all. This is a superficial aspect of what's happening here, but it's pretty amazing and helps account for my feeling that really fresh musical territory is being explored here. Somehow or another, these three musicians have managed to suppress the conventional identities of their instruments and blend their sounds together in an incredibly focused and sympathetic manner. When I listen to this disc I usually hear blocks of sound moving in space-time, not individual instrumental lines. I've played this disc at least ten times and I keep returning to it with rapt fascination and hearing new details that reveal the inner workings of these unified textures that continually shift and realign. Sometimes it's like watching a screensaver continually permute its geometry. This is a rare example of music that deals equally with texture and motion. Again, the key is that you're walking. All three of these musicians have large and influential discographies and represent the cutting-edge of new improvised music for which the gap between notation and improvisation has become small enough to be irrelevant. These musicians know exactly what they want their music to sound like and by refining their personal sound vocabularies to suit these intentions and choosing partners with shared intentions, they can realize new concepts of sound organization that elude both notationalists and traditional improvisors. I think of this disc as a brilliant premiere of a tremendously innovative composition that deserves a better performance sometime in the future because of my objections to about 10% of Durrant's laptop contributions, but which is engaging and revelatory enough to be essential listening for anyone interested in the state of contemporary music. Potlatch is a French label that only releases a few discs per year and they tend to be landmark documents that earn the attention of most improv connoisseurs. Based on the vigorously enthusiastic responses to Three Dances that I've seen, despite the flooded market of improvised music, this is one of the discs that will make a lot of year-end best-of lists.
- Michael Anton Parker, Downtown Music Gallery -

"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing", aurait probablement déclaré le bon Duke Ellington à l'audition de ce CD du Trio Sowari (Phil Durrant aux synthés et ordinateurs, Bertrand Denzler au ténor, Burkhard Beins aux percussions et objets), que le plus acharné des night-clubbers aura bien du mal à trouver dansant. Pourtant Duke se serait fourvoyé. Car même s'il ne "swingue" pas, Three Dances fait sens. A force de grognements, de souffles, de frottements, il échappe simplement aux critères esthétiques habituels, obligeant l'auditeur intrigué (voire subjugué) à modifier radicalement son appréhension de la musique et, rien que pour cela, mérite un minimum de considération.
- Serge Loupien, Epok/FNAC -

Three Dances è un disco per alcuni versi strambo. Nulla di sconvolgente per orecchie abituate ai suoni della Potlatch, che vi troveranno la consueta tendenza alla perdita di densità sonora, giochi parossistici tra il synth/sampler di Phil Durrant, il sax di Bertrand Denzler e le percussioni di Burkhard Beins, passaggi limite tra rumori, schioppi, tintinnii, fruscii, artifizi ed effetti collaterali tra strumenti (sax ma soprattutto ogni tipo di superficie e oggetto percuotibile). Insomma, la solita, Œiper-concreta¹, condensa sonora che pero¹, questa volta, trova la propria formula espressiva in una forma Œclassica¹. Il trio Sowari, infatti, costruisce tre danze, "Rondò², "Bolero² e "Tumble², che seguono un andamento simile - con la dovuta traslazione spazio, sonoro, uditivo e temporale - a quello dei concerti da camera settecenteschi. Il peso della melodia nelle mani del Trio Sowari viene completamente atomizzato, nebulizzato e drammatizzato, pur mantenendo, e qui l¹interessante, invariate l¹idea delle combinazioni sonore e dei contrappunti. La struttura-concertante delle tre danze è dunque curiosa; peccato sull¹ultima si assista ad una vera e propria caduta libera di suoni. Convince moltissimo il percussionista tedesco Burkhard Beins, capace in ogni passaggio di vitalizzare una materia sonora che Durrant e Denzler lavorano con molta più pesantezza. Three Dances ne esce in sostanza come un lavoro degno di attenzione, artificioso a tratti, assolutamente non godibile, che forse andrebbe visto (e non solo sentito) dal vivo per apprezzarne meglio alcuni passaggi.
- Francesca Odilia Bellino, AAJ Italia -

På "Three Dances" tränger Trio Sowari in i de små musikaliska detaljerna. Ljuden skrapar, bubblar, gurglar, väser och vibrerar. Utan stöd i toner, melodi, harmonik eller för den delen rytmik byggs musiken upp kring en riklig flora av ljud vilka förändras, möter tystnad och skiftar i densitet. Levande, i ständig rörelse, om än i stilla mak träder den fram. Bjuder in snarare än bjuder upp med tanke på den ironiska titeln. Engelsmannen Phil Durrant (software sampler, synth, treatments), och tyske Burkhard Beins (percussion, objects) är välkända figurer inom den europeiska improvisationsmusiken. Med sig i Trio Sowari har de även schweizaren, men bosatt i Paris, Bertrand Denzler (tenorsaxofon). Inspelningen är gjord i november 2004. Det finns ett mycket sympatiskt drag i Trio Sowaris improvisationer i det att inget forceras fram. Huruvida det är en protest mot stress och snabba kast i dagens samhälle har jag ingen aning om, det är i alla fall ett intryck jag får. Däremot är det en musik som går på tvärs mot den europeiska improvisationsmusik som utvecklades på 1970-talet. Den är stillsam, organisk, tillbakahållen. Ingen av musikerna sticker ut i virtuosa solon, varken ensamma eller kollektivt. Istället byggs musiken gemensamt upp och ger lyssnaren mentala bilder framför fysisk beröring. Skivans tre improvisationer har delvis olika karaktärer. Medan "Rondo" (15 minuter) är mer lågmält uppstyckad är "Bolero" (11 minuter) (ännu) mer stillsam och har större inslag av såväl tystnad som hållna drone-aktiga ljud, dock kryddad med enerverande sinustoner. Högst densitet har den 25 minuter långa "Tumble", å andra sidan är tystnaden som mest närvarande under det långa mittenpartiet.
- Magnus Olsson, Sound of Music -

The initial challenge of approaching a recording by a group such as Trio Sowari is downplaying the visual aspects of improvised music. Even though music is an auditory experience, as listeners we constantly require visual confirmation of what our ears are taking in. Perhaps a DVD would fill the prescription, but then again your eyes would miss what your ears and imagination open into with the experience of Three Dances . The headline "star" (with a small "s") is London-based Phil Durrant. The classically trained violinist and collaborator with this likes of John Butcher, Chris Burn, Tony Wren, and Mark Sanders sheds his strings for a sampler and synthesizer. Likewise, percussionist Burkhard Beins (Phosphor, Axel Dörner, Keith Rowe, and Tony Buck) eschews typical beats; and saxophonist Bertrand Denzler doesn´t produce notes so much as deliver breath. The three tracks, adding up to 52 minutes of music, maintain a minimalist structure that constantly draws you towards the quiet. Investing you with a keen awareness of the small gestures of switches, breath, rattles and vibration. Denzler, like his contemporary Axel Dörner, is rewriting the book on wind instrument approach. He sticks to mediative breath and the musical aspects of the physical object he holds, generating sound with the body and keys of his saxophone. While Denzler picks up on what drummers have been exploring beyond the skins of their kits, Beins has progressed into amplified percussion and resonating acoustic objects with the purpose of creating new sounds and new experiences. This recording constantly hums and rattles, gurgling with texture and feeling. If we can conceptualize Beins and Denzler´s approach, what then of Durrant´s computer and effects? Surely there is no way to determine where Durrant starts and the logic board stops. We must then return to the original concept of eyes closed‹and ears open.
- Mark Corroto, All About Jazz -

Phil Durrant, Bertrand Denzler et Burkhard Beins nous ont apporté cette saison (création du groupe en novembre 2004) une des passionnantes réalisations scéniques, dans la catégorie mixte et improvisée. La version discographique confirme notre sentiment positif. Passant outre les clichés qui encombrent le minimalisme contemporain, le Trio SOWARI se livre à une bataille dynamique des timbres et matières. Le saxophone (de mieux en mieux joué par Denzler) se glisse avec bonheur dans les frottis de Beins, offrant à Durrant de larges pistes pour une électronique inspirée. L'image d'une grande concentration au service d'une conception claire pour ne pas dire parfaite. Un petit groupe qui n'a rien à craindre des grands...
- Dino, Revue et Corrigée -

Three Dances is the debut release by Trio Sowari, a group made up of three experienced European improvisers: Phil Durrant (software sampler, synthesizer and treatments), Bertrand Denzler (tenor saxophone) and Burkhard Beins (percussion and objects). Recorded at La Muse en Circuit outside Paris on November 21st 2004, the disc contains three fairly lengthy tracks. In the first, "Rondo", the group´s soundworld of hisses, gurgles, crackles, reverberations, stridulations and extended tones is fashioned into an engagingly episodic sequence of fleet consecutive responses and entwined passages of sinewy enfoldings and uncouplings. Along the way, the music explores a wide range of densities and volumes (including silence), and, unlike the more uniformly high-pitched electro-acoustic improvisations common today, often possesses quite a punch in the lower register. The improvising is generally excellent ­ attentive, adept and creative ­ although a few passages are marked by rather fixed or obvious responses. The second track, "Bolero", is quieter, beginning with a bubbling surface of small gestures, later replaced by more persistent rumblings and extended tones from Durrant´s electronics and punctuating bursts of drag and flutter from Beins and Denzler. Once again, there is much of interest but not quite the same intensity of connection that possessed the musicians on "Rondo". The final track, "Tumble" opens strongly with some gripping exchanges and concatenations built out of single sounds, both short and extended, from each player. As the improvisation proceeds, the trio¹s approach diversifies, taking in everything from furtive low volume exchanges to huge electronic surges, metallic episodes and undulating fields of electronic and acoustic sound. There are moments, especially towards the end of the track, when the groups falls into uniformly agitated playing or orthodox arcs of tension and release, but what is more prominent is the collective willingness to allow the music to mutate creatively and an ability to fashion fresh and stimulating contributions moment by moment. Trio Sowari´s search for combinations and sequences of sounds that establish meaning without submitting to conventional aesthetic theories and responses is a fine illustration of what Cornelius Cardew referred to in his sleeve notes to AMM´s 1968 The Crypt - 12th June : "searching for sounds and for the responses that attach to them". But can you dance to it? Would you want to, even if you could? The social institution of dance typically serves as a process of physical entrainment ("muscular bonding" in the words of dance historian William McNeill) whereby the individual is imbued with an unreflective and mobilizable identity as a member of an existing group and inculcated into the values of the group´s dominant powers and ideologies. Are there other approaches to dance that go beyond idiot spasms in the service of tribe, nation, state, sub-culture or commodity, that act in contemporary conditions other than by dressing oblivious social submission in the tattered rags of simulated ecstasy or conventional elegance? If nothing else, perhaps Trio Sowari´s provocative title and alluringly caliginous cavorting invite us to explore these questions in mind and body.
- Wayne Spencer, Paristransatlantic -

Als TRIO SOWARI erkunden neben dem knöpfchendrehenden Impro-Meister Phil Durrant Bertrand Denzler (sax) und Burkhard Beins (perc) weiter tapfer die Möglichkeiten vollständiger Klangabstraktion. Die ersten 5 Stücke knacken jeweils kaum die 1-Minuten-Marke, aber schon da klingt es gerne mal so, als ob ein Fahrradreifen die Luft verliert. Oder als ob die atmosphärischen Störungen die Empfangsqualität der "Neue Musik"-Sendung von Radio Shanghai heute mächtig trüben. Aber wie die drei z.B. in "Dots #1" die Feinheiten der Klangstrukturen ausloten, hat unbedingt Klasse!
- Karsten Zimalla, -

Ensemble, ils proposent une pièce en trois mouvements enregistrée le 21 novembre 2004 à La muse en circuit par Christophe Hauser. Véritable expérience sonore, extrème et complexe, les musiciens se déplacent au gré de formes et structures parfois arides, les instruments, dont ils maitrisent les limites sont sollicités dans leur retranchement. Une démarche des plus extrêmes qui réduit l'instrumentarium au stade de machines à sons. Cette radicalité présente sur la totalité de l'opus apporte à ce dernier un caractère compact, insaisissable et inouï ! Claquement de clés, souffles bruitistes, interventions électroniques, drones, résonnances percussives et autres bruissements pointillistes pulullent, se transforment et progressent pour donner vie à une ¦uvre électroacoustique improvisée et abstraite des plus abouties ! Dépassement de l'instrument pour une harmonie dans le chaos.
- Sonhors -

Franske Potlatch sin utgivelsesrate er ikke særlig høy (rundt tjue titler er det blitt siden 1998). Kvaliteten er derimot av ypperste klasse. Labelens seneste, "Three Dances" med Trio Sowari representerer nok et høydepunkt i en katalog som fra før er full av dem (her er det kanskje på sin plass å uttrykke min bitterhet over tyveriet av cd-holderen min i sommer, som blant mye annet inneholdt Potlatchs forrige, "Strom" ­ håper tjuvradden vet å sette pris på den). Trio Sowari er Phil Durrant (software sampler, synth og "treatments"), Bertrand Denzler (tenorsaksofon) og Burkhard Beins (perkusjon, objekter). Dansene i tittelen og navnene på platens tre improvisasjoner ­ "Rondo", "Bolero" og "Tumble" ­ viser ikke til et konvensjonelt signifikat, men en abstrahert og eventuelt ironisk betydning av fenomenet dans, der bevegelse i sin alminnelighet, lyden som fremkaller bevegelsen eller simpelthen lydbølgenes bevegelse er det sentrale. Platens nusselige omslagsdesign, med et nostalgisk bilde av et mekanisk dansende par (hvilken dans er det?), gjenspeiler på ingen måte musikken, som er rastløs og urolig, energisk og kraftfull. Musikerne sitter ikke stille på stolene sine, de graver, kontinuerlig og utrettelig, hver for seg men som oftest i uhemmet og intuitiv samhandling, etter nye lyder og teksturer, nye kombinasjoner av dem. "Three Dances" har like lite til felles med hardcore reduksjonisme, i betydningen nedsettelse av volum og innskrenkning av materialbruk, som klassisk, SME-ortodoks fri-impro. Men platen er heller ingen protestaksjon, verken mot det ene eller andre ­ her finnes både (relativt) stille partier og virtuos kollektiv interaksjon. I stedet er den et eksempel på virkelig fri og utvunget improvisert musikk.
- Frank Messel, Disquiting Duck -

Les musiciens du Trio Sowari appartiennent à cette nouvelle génération qui, depuis plusieurs années, bouscule les acquis de l'improvisation musicale. Dans cet enregistrement où jaillissent sons électroniques, souffles de saxophone et frottements de percussion, le temps musical n'obéit pas aux règles communément admises. Son déroulement ne s'articule plus autour du développement de la phrase musicale, cet invariant quasi universel si rarement remis en cause. Une linéarité hors normes prend forme en s'appuyant sur la richesse intrinsèque des propositions sonores. Les événements se succèdent débarrassés de tout affect et finissent par acquérir une sensibilité inhabituelle. L'écoute en est profondément bouleversée.
- Les allumés du jazz -

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