April 17, 2023
Epli - Epli EP
Label: Epli Sound
Catalog #: no catalog number
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Release Date: March 17, 2023
Media: digital download and cassette
In January, 2022, the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House reviewed the album, Aeriform, by the Crush String Collective, a group of seven women performing on two violins, two violas and three cellos. This ensemble explores the bounds of music made from an expansion of the traditional string trio. We very much enjoyed Aeriform and it appears at the top of 2022 top ten list. So, when we discovered that Oda Dyrnes, one of the cellists from Crush String Collective had released a new ep, a duet in collaboration with the trumpeter, Tyge Jessen, we decided that we had better give it a careful listen.
The Epli (Apple) ep contains eighteen brief tracks, four of which are shorter than one minute and the same number longer than two minutes. All the rest fall somewhere in between. These vignettes each constitute one bite-sized morsel of apple. Apples, of course, come in many different flavors—from sour green Granny Smith to sweet red Gala. With this fruitful analogy in mind, it should come as no surprise then that the eighteen pieces of Epli are similarly suited for a variety of palates.
On roughly half the tracks of Epli, the music intends to forcibly wrest the attention of the ear from the continuous hum of sounds in which it is otherwise immersed. These tracks remind us of the œuvre of the Relative Pitch Records catalog, which contains many duets where the pair of musicians coax sounds from their respective instruments that are, as often as not, difficult to associate with any sort of conventional playing from the instruments identified in the album credits. (As an aside, the PPPH staff have reviewed several such duets from Relative Pitch, the latest being, Bricolage III by Biliana Voutchkova and Tomeka Reid.) The combination of cello and trumpet on Epli generates music that is philosophically aligned with this experimental acoustic genre.
On the same ep, there is another collection of tracks that presents a distinct music that more readily embraces (relatively) easy-listening music. We hear in these tracks, the melodic strains, which so endeared Aeriform to us, married to the sonorous call of the trumpet. The tracks alternate: something challenging, something gentle. Neither lasts more than a minute or two before returning to the other.
That one ep, not quite half an hour in duration, should collect two distinct approaches to the cello/trumpet duet is an improvisational delight. The blending of melody and dissonance is a common fabric of the music of the cultural margin and it takes no effort to appreciate the unique, collective expression of Ms. Dyrnes and Mr. Jessen in this regard. Plus, the trumpet playing of Mr. Jessen was new to our ears, and music that introduces us to a new voice is always an explicit appeal of the shifting ensembles of improvisors.
For listeners who like to occupy their eyes and ears simultaneously, there are two videos posted for Pavane and Tekstur II. Listeners will quickly hear that the choice of these two tracks reflects the dual nature of the Epli.
photograph: Roberto Bordiga