Àlex Reviriego (bass)
Frédéric Filiatrae (trombone)
Iván González (trumpet)

It’s been a while, Robadors – especially for this Thursday night free session – but in a changing world, it’s reassuring to find that some things remain the same. The revolving roster of musicians in R23 continue to effortlessly create an hour’s meditative sound sculpture on demand.

Tonight was all about the silence, the absence of sound that can be highlighted and defined by the most delicate of deliberate noises. Both González and Filiatrae leaned heavily (and symbolically) on a variety of mutes to pare their emissions (“notes” isn’t the right word, half the time, the tones were so soft they barely qualified as a breath) don’t to the absolute minimum of expression.

Reviriego’s bass was frequently fragmentary, providing an underpinning and a gentle propulsion while also leaving plenty of space on the ‘canvas’ for his colleagues. Much use was made of extended (and even exaggerated?) techniques such as drumsticks in the strings and a percussive attack with the bow. Several times, in contrast to the low-end creaks and bass groans, Reviriego bent low and bowed an upper-register drone note, ‘fretting’ the string just an inch* or two above the bridge. (*an “inch” is approximately 2.5cm, metric fans…)

Another snapshot: González produced painterly splashes of sound which constantly threatened to coalesce into an actual melody but always teasingly held back… meanwhile, Filaitrae whistled and squawked using just the mouthpiece to his instrument to create a high-pitched oscillation… and Reviriego’s fingers flew across muted strings in pointillistic accompaniment, soft harmonics ringing out.

A subdued and meditative set, abstract, minimalist, relaxing even, and at times, dreamlike.

(The usual great photos from Elena Márquez can be found here.)

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