Tra tradizione ed improvvisazione, tra memoria di melodie ataviche e grattugiate free… — Blow Up, Italy
The first free improvisation meeting between three musicians involved in contemporay and early music. Masafat — the word means “distance” in Persian — is modern research on ancient Persian and European instruments. The outcome of a studio residency in the Gatineau Park, this recording delivers unpretentious new music that steps away from any and all traditions: oral music of the here and now.
CD (AM 195)
- 1Montréal (2009), 2:04
- 2Kirkland, 29km (2009), 5:08
- 3Hudson, 60km (2009), 4:47
- 4Rigaud, 68km (2009), 3:24
- 5Alexandria, 120km (2009), 2:31
- 6Dunvegan, 126km (2009), 3:01
- 7Casselman, 146km (2009), 3:13
- 8Limoges, 160km (2009), 8:16
- 9Vanier, 197km (2009), 5:13
- 10Ottawa, 199km (2009), 3:16
- 11Gatineau, 206km (2009), 1:39
- 12Chelsea (2009), 1:44
- Label: Ambiances Magnétiques
- AM 195
- UCC 771028119523
- Total duration: 44:20
- Sympathique case
- 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
- 35 g
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Masafat is the work of a trio: Kiya Tabassian on setar, and shuranguiz, both Persian string instruments plus violin, Pierre-Yves Martel on prepared contrabass and Ziya Tabassian on percussion. Ziya Tabassian is specialized in early as well as contemporary music. He released a solo album on Ambiances Magnetiques earlier, experimenting with old Persian music and improvisation. Kiya Tabassian received his initial training in Persian music and studied composition in Montréal later. He is co-founder of Constantinople, an ensemble that concentrates on medieval and renaissance music. Kiya and Pierre are also member of this ensemble. With Masafat, meaning “Distance” they joined for an adventurous undertaking: free improvisation combined with traditional Persian music and instruments. Not in every aspect a satisfying release. Sometimes it is a bit too amorph and unfocused for my taste. Maybe I’m not familiar enough with the grammar of eastern music. Anyway, there are also some very strong moments, like the opening of Casselma or the middle section of Dungevan. Or the bluesy tune Gatineau.
Nothing like traditional instruments played in new ways and that’s what we have here. Since I haven’t heard the setar or shuranguiz before this, it is hard to tell what they sound like without any manipulations. The results are most mesmerizing and exotic nonetheless. Swirling acoustic strings and percussion woven into a handful of interconnected layers. The subtle bowing and bending of strings is done carefully and creates a constant aura of mystery. Superbly recorded with attention to detail and nuance. In search of the miraculous? You can find it here.
Le concept set simple: l’histoire de la randonnée du trio montréalais vers le Parc de la Gatineau en passant par les hautes-Ontarios racontée en douze chapitres (pièces). Un chemin emprunté par plusieurs, un chemin avec son lot de controverses. De Montréal à Hudson, la voie est calme. Mais déjà, lorsque Rigaud se pointe, la tension monte. L’approche de l’Ontario se fait entendre et sévira dès Alexandria. Petit retour en arrière. Au début des années 2000, la compagnie d’autocar Greyhound parvient à interdire la présence des co-voitureurs du réseau Allo-Stop en invoquant l’argument de concurrence déloyale. Les covoitureurs ne peuvent donc plus faire le trajet Montréal — Gatineau en passant par la 417 ontarienne. Le trajet devient un parcours maudit chez les auto-stoppeurs. C’est donc ce vieux spectre du transport phobophobe qui s’installe tranquillement dans la musique de ce Masafat post-autoroute-40. Mais n’ayez crainte, ce trio mange des lévriers pour déjeuner.
I am almost entirely won over by this album of trio improvisation. Kiya Tabassian and Ziya Tabassian, first specialized in Persian “classical” music, have been expanding their palette of collaborations for a while. Kiya (string instruments) with Constantinople is building bridges between classical musics from various parts of the world (among other things) while Ziya (percussion) has been drawing closer to avant-jazz and free improvisation. Here, theyare complemented by Pierre-Yves Martel on prepared viola da gamba. Masafat features 12 short, quiet, searching free improvisations. They have exotic accents but are mostly from a unique personal universe. This music is very taking. My only recrimination is that it is a tad bit to homogeneous, which makes the album feel a little too long.