A relaxed set from this trio, laid back even, recorded in 2014 at the Mayakovsky Library in St. Petersburg. There’s plenty of space here for the trio to explore and interact – indeed, the acoustic properties of the titular Rotonda are such that the release notes credit it as an additional member of the group – and the result is a pleasing recombination of acoustic and electronic improvisation.
Early sections are characterised by whirring motors and gentle wafts of alto saxophone, occasionally punctuated by a struck bell, its brassy resonance allowed to echo through the space like waves from a stone dropped into a pool. With the set clocking in at 47 minutes, there’s no need for anyone to hurry, and so things proceed gradually, with layers of sound gently overlapping then fading away with an almost drowsy air. Jonas Kocher’s accordion arrives with a burst at around 08:00 mark, its distinctive sound slicing through the echoey softness in a bracingly welcome draft. With all three players established, things come into focus somewhat, the trio calm as they usher forth a series of electronic bloops, reedy whispers and angular bellows-driven phrases. There’s plenty here for the eai and improv fans to get into, the sounds resonating in the space with a nourishing richness. Watch out for a lively blast of melodrama at 22 minutes, an exhilarating group drone that’s redolent of manic organ overload from some vintage Hammer Horror flick.
Even better is a freak out section at about 29:00, Kocher ratcheting round his accordion keys in fine hectic style as Bardrutt hits some gritty whooshes of noise, with Belorukov’s airy licks curling round the outside. Bubbling up from nowhere the noise disappears as quickly as it arrives, returning abruptly to the parched, minimal gestures of the first half. It’s pretty quiet from then on, with the trio avoiding any easy moves or attempts at crescendo, opting instead to continue with their careful mutual explorations. Badrutt in particular achieves some lovely washes of electro-burble, all the better for being almost inaudible, teeing us up nicely for a final five minutes of near-silence. A treat for well-tuned ears.