All compositions by Schubert / Majkowski / Dimitriadis. Recorded 30th November 2010, in Berlin. Mixed by Niklas Schmincke. Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov
Tracklist Side A: 1. Jaw 2. The Salt of Pleasure 3. Hook 4. Bristles | Side B: 1. Decomposer 2. Acorn / Tongue
Frank Paul Schubert
I guess we all know this.
You buy a new record/CD and as soon as you are at home you put it on your stereo. You listen to it for the first time and you think: Okay, strong, a good album. Then you listen to it again and again and the more often you listen to it the better it gets. You discover hidden qualities, surprising and interesting details, you recognize what a treat it is. Fabric Trio’s “Murmurs” is exactly such an album.
The A-side of the record presents the Berlin-based band consisting of Frank Paul Schubert (alto and soprano saxophone), Mike Majkowski (bass) and Yorgos Dimitradis (drums) as an almost classical sax trio in the tradition of Ornette Coleman’s legendary “Golden Circle” band with David Izenzon and Charles Moffett because like them the trio acts almost independently without dissolving the group context. The music does not overwhelm the listener, it displays a natural, lyrical and elegant flow.
In “Jaw”, the first track, Schubert plays bright, guttural and coherent lines, exciting and full of contrasts, while bass and drums accompany him with unconventional, monotonous runs and bumpy beats. The band pushes this concept in “The Salt of Pleasure”, a track that reminds of the more introspective pieces of The Thing, while “Hook” and “Bristles” make you think of Coleman again. So far this would be a good album but there would be nothing special about it either. This radically changes on the flipside.
Hardly does the trio use conventional and classical structures of playing, alienation and the shaping of silence are the dominant stylistic devices. While Schubert plays melancholic blues lines in “Decomposer”, a track whose beginning is even right at the threshold of pain, bass and drums leave their supportive function and create a melodic, rhythmic and harmonic world of their own, which leads to a new form of communication compared to the first tracks. It seems as if the musicians were trying to discover the sounds of their instruments anew.
Especially “Acorn/Tongue”, the longest and most exciting composition of the album, tries to re-define sound. The musicians play undefined overtones, Schubert’s sax sounds like a dying dragon, fatally wounded, exhaling steam from huge nostrils, weary, resigned, doomed. The drum beats come down on the creature like hailstones, and the bass accompanies this drama playing extremely high and low registers or it remains hammering percussive chords. The whole track can be considered as a suite of soundscapes, sound and silence are equal elements in the musical structure of the composition itself, with silence having become a medium to create structural tension and tonal concentration.
As I said in the beginning: “Murmurs” is an unusual, magnificent and captivating album, the deeper you listen to it, the more it grows. — Martin Schray
While it would be an exaggeration to suggest
that there was a house style for the adventurous Lithuanian No Business imprint, the European saxophone trio nonetheless forms a significant strand in its output. Recent winning entries in the format have included sets from the Anglo Polish Riverloam Trio, Thomas Borgmann’s excellent US-German unit, and Evan Parker’s longstanding trio. To these illustrious sessions must now be added the Fabric Trio featuring German reedman Frank Paul Schubert alongside Greek drummer Yorgos Dimitriadis and Australian bassist Mike Majkowski.
Schubert has appeared in the company of luminaries such as Alexander von Schlippenbach, Gunter Baby Sommer, Willi Kellers, John Edwards and Mark Sanders and, as may be deduced from that roll call, plies his wares at the more unfettered extreme of the free jazz spectrum. Here the reedman carries most of the narrative thrust, though within the confines of a focused group ethos engendered by Dimitriadis and Majkowski’s continuously shifting commentary cum counterpoint. The rhythm team prove adept at non-linear momentum, all about imparting energy in a loose-limbed rumble, leaving each other space and prompting Schubert who deals in a syntax of split tones, airy susurrations and warbled overtones.
In a collectively birthed program of six pieces spread over the 51-minute limited edition LP, the emphasis is on the atmospheric slow burn. Restraint is one of the hallmarks of this trio, best experienced on the intriguing “Acorn/Tongue.” Creaks, groans and rattles gradually cohere into forward motion, building a head of steam which never quite blows its top. Such sensitive interplay holds sway throughout, equally well evidenced on “The Salt Of Pleasure” where the saxophonist’s breathy soprano intertwines with Majkowski’s singing arco, accompanied by nervy unsettling percussion. As so often happens, the exception comes in the scene setting opener—”Jaw”—where a conversational exchange with Schubert’s soprano pontificating over throbbing bass and rolling drums, crescendos in a fever pitch of foghorn bellows and emphatic percussion. It shows that whatever the weather, there is a lot more to come from the Fabric Trio yet. — John Sharpe
LP version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)