Published May 19, 2018This trio of veterans demonstrated how well-developed improv can function, as three travelers with different native tongues arrived at communication through a conjunction of gesture, tone, and intent, producing a new and complex shared language.
With Montreal as a frequent home base, violinist Malcolm Goldstein, now in his early '80s, is connected to guitarist / lamellaphonist Rainer Wiens and pipa virtuoso Liu Fang, having played and/or recorded in duos with both. For their concert at FIMAV, Goldstein and Fang matched expressive energies, approaching and interlocking with each other, while Wiens, first on customized kalimba and mbira, then on prepared guitar, was tasked with a shepherding role, giving their play a border and geography.
The four pieces all showed a respect for space and silence, transforming them into pools of energy out of which new and often lightning fast movement might spring. Fang's pipa was the most kinetic of the three, acting as a kind of perpetual carbonation that bubbled through even the stillest musical waters.
The third piece was the most kinetic, with all three mainly exploiting the percussive elements of their instruments. For the fourth, Wiens' gentle touch with slide and bow on his guitar, amplified to just below feedback levels, created crystalline notes and drones for the other two to play across, culminating in a high and lovely duet between he and Goldstein finding a high harmony on his violin.