Sunday, November 21, 2010

Murc Off

Murcof and Francesco Tristano - London Jazz Festival, Queen Eliizabeth Hall, Southbank, London. 16th November 2010

There was promise here for sure. The combination of Fernando Corona aka Murcof’s minimalist electronica grace and the idiosynkrasia of 'not'-pianist Francesco Tristano ought to have delivered something special, but I’m not sure it did. Things started promisingly enough with Tristano scattering some deeply reverberated quizzical piano notes. Murcof then faded in a deep bass thrum overlaid with a thin shade of white noise. And, … well that’s where it stayed for quite some time. Tristano’s harmonic pepperings were more or less of the same ilk throughout. He did start to work on the piano’s acoustic textural potential, leaning in to mute pluck and scratch the strings inside the piano body creating those familiar avant-classical shimmerings. He then slapped, tapped and banged the frame, inducing various rhythmic effects, all swathed in just a little too much digital reverb. It was interesting stuff, but it needed to go somewhere somehow.

Murcof set up an even low rhythm thud on the second piece, the accompanying retro analog sounding arpeggios really reminding me of Phaedra era Tangerine Dream. Again, there was something really quite good about it, but it seemed to need more. The volume increase and aural thickness left Tristano’s continued piano body rhythm attacks somewhat outgunned, though he did later respond with some high velocity sweeps across the full range of keys that managed to cut through and make some impact.

The final piece had something approaching a groove, the lithe and partially effete Tristano swaying accordingly to the low beat emanating from Murcof’s laptop. Good this, but once again, it overstayed it’s welcome. A not insignificant number of the audience had already voted with their feet at this point, and the notably short set was not extended with an encore. Not good value I suppose, but I’m not sure too many were complaining.

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