Released on 13 october 2021
Anton Mobin : prepared chamber
Martina Verhoeven : piano
Performed, recorded, mixed and mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium) on February 16th 2020.
Sleeve notes : Guy Peters
Layout : Rutger Zuydervelt
LINER NOTES //
nwoj0046 Anton Mobin & Martina Verhoeven - Cure And Mound
Hearing Cure And Mound for the first time, you might think there was something distressing going on in the studio, as these recordings are throbbing with a restless and almost physical agitation. It made me think of one of Steve Lacy’s interviews. Lacy, an amiable man by all accounts, and esteemed by his peers, repeatedly described jazz and improvised music as dissident and often intense by nature. The same for the musician’s relation to the instrument: “You have to have a certain warlike nature and a kind of thirst for violence, in a way. I think you must spend some time in your life doing that. You don’t have to do that all of your life but you have to beat it up for a while to get to the bottom of it, to tame it. Otherwise you’ll never tame your instrument. It’ll always be out of control. You’ll be at its mercy, subsequently.”
While there’s no violence going on here, this recording does feel like one of those ‘no holds barred’-sessions. It has its moments of rest and quietness, when the interplay dissolves into a minimalist haze of dream-like pitter patter, but the overall impression is one of tension and turbulence. To some degree it can of course be attributed to Anton Mobin’s prepared chamber, his ‘analogue compendium of possibilities’, as I referred to it in the liner notes to Close | Quarters, his album with Benedict Taylor on this label. The ultra- deep growls, somewhat reminiscent of the beating of a mammoth’s heart, are spectacular. Add to that the screeches and hums, wobbly waves, countless jittery effects and puzzling moans, and you are at the mercy of a relentless sound generator.
The beautiful thing is that Martina Verhoeven matches him step by step. Not by copying or attempting a kind of excessively brutal physicality, but by approaching the piano with a similar openness, eagerly exploiting the possibilities of inside playing, the fondling and manipulation of strings and wood, combined with an equally unconventional treatment of the ivory. To Cecil Taylor, the piano itself sounded like an orchestra, and occasionally, something similar seems to be going on for Verhoeven. The piano is an instrument she inhabits, turning the 88 tuned drums into a generator for rhythm, shapes, turbulence and a sheer endless provocation of sounds and ideas.
Add it all up, and Cure And Mound might be one of the most demanding releases in the NWOJ catalogue. There’s the physical density of the interaction, the otherworldly sounds and the intimidating length. You need some spare time and have to clear your head before delving into such an amount of information. But... once you are willing to invest the effort, you are in for a whirlwind of thrills that makes the sheer joy of producing wild and wondrous sounds utterly tangible. It is nice to get a reminder of how exhilarating this kind of music can be.