GRIFF – Villa For Forest
INGRID SCHMOLINER & ADAM PULTZ MELBYE & EMILIO GORDOA – GRIFF (CD by Inexhaustible Editions)
I really hate using this word, but there is something eerie about ‘GRIFF’. Saying this out loud makes me feels like an amateur but, try as I want, I can’t find a better word. Each piece of music that Ingrid Schmoliner, Adam Pultz Melbye and Emilio Gordoa create is defined by the interplay of the instruments, along with the pauses between the musicians. Instead of writing lavishly flowing scores, here, the trio takes each note as it comes. There is no rush between them. After striking the note, it is allowed to ring out until it fades into oblivion or another musician gets an itchy finger and adds their contribution.
On the opening track ‘But Still’ there is not rushed to get to the crux and Schmoliner, Melbye and Gordoa gracefully meander for 15-minutes trying to outdo each other on the eerie, that word again, stakes. This isn’t eerie in an Addams Family way, or a conventional horror film score. Oh no. It’s eerie in a way that I can’t really explain but at times it sends a jolt down my spine that numbs my fingers. It’s a feeling of total unease, but also being totally into it. It’s the feeling you get when you either send the wrong email to the wrong person or know you can’t make it right. It’s the feeling of realising something is lost but knowing nothing you can try will make it better. It’s also the sound of three exceptional musicians doing what they do best. Schmoliner’s piano is delusory sombre. Melbye’s double bass is heavy but subtle and Gordoa is doing things with a vibraphone that I’ve not really heard before.
The best is definitely saved for last. On the CD at least, which features a bonus, untitled, track. It is effective a series of piano notes, and chords played in unison and allowed to fade out before the next discordant notes are played. There is something harrowing about it, but there is a skewed beauty to it too. By allowing the notes to fade into the ether, rather than hitting us again and again repeatedly, we are allowed to savour the music. Take it for what it is, but without not knowing what to expect next. It’s like when you order something in a restaurant and instead of allowing the food to mix in your mouth, you eat everything independently. You get super specific flavours in your mouth. When they have gone you eat something else, but there is a trace of the previous mouthful still there, so you do get a slightly overlaying of taste. This is what happens on ‘Which Itch’, the name the musicians gave the piece of music. It works really well and ends the album on a night, whilst acting as a bookend to the way the album opens. However, using pianos instead of bass.
Overall ‘GRIFF’ is a fascinating album that never really lets you know what the point is but gives you just enough to make an informed decision. It’s an album that really works well played in a darkened room around the gloaming. The light from outside is dimming but still bright enough to see, but the shadows in the room take on an eerie texture. (NR)
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