MEMORYBELL – MEMBRANES
Grant Hazard Outerbridge (Memorybell) has been playing music for more than 30 years. In 2014, he was diagnosed with ‘transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories.’ Returning from the hospital he found his previous compositions ‘garish’ and started to pare them down to their essence. This resulted in the minimalist piano album Obsolete (2016).
Three more modular synth-based ambient albums followed, but on Membranes he once again presents an album of Satie-esque piano compositions. Once again, his unfortunate medical condition triggered this work:
“Between December 2020 and November 2021, Outerbridge was in excruciating pain caused by the side effects of various medications. He underwent multiple surgeries and spent much of the year incapacitated in bed. ‘Membranes’ – a reference to staring through pain while imagining one is somewhere else – is the result. […] The songs mimic the experience of being in two places at once, one real and one imagined.”
None of the tracks reflects this pain and suffering, however. At least not directly. Leaving many long spaces between the notes, these pieces are very calm, relaxing and comforting. The opening title track sets the theme (and the mood), but the album is best enjoyed in one single session. Membranes feels like one single (39-minute) composition that is divided in seven parts, each variation on the recurring theme.
In the abundance of solo piano albums that are released in recent years, it is refreshing to hear someone taking a completely different approach. Espécially of course when the music sounds like it could have been a lost work from Erik Satie!
Membranes is released on Hidden Shoal and will be available digitally and on CD (Bandcamp only) from June 10.
TRIO RAMBERGET – 24 WAYS VOLUME I , VOLUME II , VOLUME III
The idea for 24 Ways started when Trio Ramberget recorded the music for Musik Att Somna Till (music for falling asleep) in 2020. They wanted ‘to create a space where you just don’t fall asleep, but where you can totally lose yourself in, music to accompany you during the 24 hours of the day’.
The result is not a 24-hour set, but it is still a massive two and a half hours of music divided over three albums,. 48 Tracks: 24 (short) preludes and 24 improvisations varying in length. The pieces follow every key of the twelve-tone scale, from C major to B minor, and are presented in that exact order.
Swedish Trio Ramberget is Gustav Davidsson (trombone), Johanna Ekholm (double bass), and Pelle Westlin (bass clarinet). They are able to retain a calm and reflective mood, even in this massive project that crosses the borders of jazz, improvisation, and modern classical music.
The three different volumes were released in November 2021, February and May 2022 respectively. The CD’s of Volume 1 and 2 are already sold out, as is the triple CD also containing Volume 3. But the individual volumes remain available digitally.