gold |cs153








































I'm guessing that with Buck, Mayas is compelled to be more forceful and loud than she is in other contexts I've seen or heard her, but I prefer it when she's quieter, even semi-melodic. That said, the two live pieces here are strong enough, varied and the inside piano/percussion mixture is almost always juicy, especially on the second, shorter track, which is quite fine. Brian Olewnick (Just Outside)

Das Piano-Drums-Duo von MAGDA MAYAS und TONY BUCK gibt sich mit ‚Mercury Machine‘ und ‚Golden‘ auf GOLD (cs 153) alchemistisch. Sie mit meist präpariertem, weitgehend unpianistischem Innenklavierspiel als markanter Eigenheit, er mit quecksilbrig flirrender oder auch schäbig gekratzter perkussiver Dichte. Aus den Tasten pingt oder dongt die Berlinerin sporadisch spitze Hagel- und dunkle Glockenschläge, er knurpst, knattert und rappelt, dass einem, der ihn nur mit The Necks kennt, die Ohren schlackern. Für mich hört sich das eifrige Hantieren zu sehr nach ‚Kleinem Werk‘ an und nach Gestöcher in der ‚Schwärzungs‘-Phase. Rigobert Dittmann (Bad Alchemy)

There’s just 36 minutes of music here, but every second of it is interesting. Pianist Mayas plays chunky, bell-like clusters that seem to observe a slowly evolving musical logic, neither obviously melodic nor conventionally harmonic. Drummer Buck for the most part works a parallel path, working busily but delicately round his kit. The opening minutes of “mercury machine” are full of light, skittering figures on the metal parts and big, damped clusters on the piano, some of them hand-damped inside the sound box, I suspect. It opens out thereafter, but there’s no attempt here to emulate the iconic piano and drum duos of the past – Coltrane and Ali, Taylor and Roach. Mayas and Buck create their own intimate languages and in the process deliver something very special and exactly the right length. Brian Morton (The Wire)

There are at least five distinct points along the spectrum of sound created by Magda Mayas and Tony Buck. At either extreme are the "natural" sounds of piano and drums. Moving toward center, we hear the strummed and muted strings and the bowed cymbals familiar within the language of extended playing techniques. And hovering in the middle is the territory the duo marks as its own, an area where they overlap and the origins of sounds become not just uncertain but irrelevant.
The spectrum of Gold doesn't lie in progression. Mayas and Buck move freely along the line, generally occupying several points at a time. Buck may be best known as the drummer for the excellent Australian trio The Necks, but here he is considerable more restless, continually reshaping the proceedings. Mayas is one of the more fascinating of the new realm of piano preparers, and takes the instrument's inclusion in the percussion family quite literally, while seeming to consider it a fractured harp or an overgrown slide guitar on occasion as well.
These varying factors fell together quite beautifully at Amsterdam's Bimhuis in December of 2007, when this succinct (37 minute) duet was recorded. The pair finds a remarkable way of being both quick and gentle, making for a pleasantly rewarding recording. Kurt Gottschalk (The Squid's Ear)

Magda Mayas e Tony Buck fizeram um disco espantoso, assim como quem entretece um longo tapete com fios de luz e sombra. Difícil, esta arte de esculpir sons percussivos a quatro mãos, tem no duo Mayas-Buck um dos pontos mais altos da actualidade. Buck, membro do trio australiano The Necks, participa ainda numa variedade de grupos que abordam géneros que vão do rock às franjas do jazz, em estilos muito variados. Aluna de Misha Mengelberg, Mayas, que é também curadora do festival Tasten-Berliner Klaviertage, evoluiu do jazz para a improvisação livre, prática que exercita num espaço geográfico alargado, que vai da Europa à América, com uma grande volta pela Austrália. Nos dois temas de Gold (Mercury Machine e Golden), Mayas e Buck põem em prática um rol imenso de possibilidades e combinações sonoras a partir de uma base acústica de piano e percussão, que faz apelo à utilização extensiva de toda a morfologia interna e externa dos instrumentos. É fascinante a obsessão do duo pela malha cerrada, a que atribui escassos intervalos, marcada por uma segunda obsessão, a pontilhismo rítmico, crescente a cada segundo que passa, característica que põe em evidência toda a riqueza tímbrica que os instrumentos permitem explorar. Os efeitos rítmicos da mão esquerda da pianista combinam na perfeição com as acentuações irregulares das baixas frequências, do mesmo modo que o afagar das peças metálicas do kit de percussão casa bem com a preparação e a execução dentro do piano. O efeito geral, expresso em movimentos amplos, é de extrema eficácia narrativa – numa música que essencialmente o não é – e de assinalável beleza estética. A proposta da Creative Sources Recordings é irresistível. Eduardo Chagas (Jazz e Arredores)

Of similar interest but not nearly as sparse is Gold, the collaborative effort of pianist Magda Mayas and drummer Tony Buck. To say that the disc is more 'traditional' is only to affirm that the atomistic approach of '60s 'free' jazz is in effect here, which has become a tradition in its own right. Maya's instrument moans, sighs and whispers, in contrast to Buck's more and more explosive percussives, making "Mercury"'s epic unfolding a study in long-range dynamic and sonic contrast even as it changes dramatically from moment to moment. Despite references to established modes of expression, there's nothing sterile about this venture into duo improv. Marc Medwin (All About Jazz)

Subtle duet for piano (and relative innards) and drums, where the accidental and the uncalculated seem to have a decisive prevalence on the preconceived. Music made of obscure clusters and liquefied tints, enriched by the concreteness of an underlying percussiveness in a constant reorganization of instantaneous flows of thought. The level of reciprocal listening is extremely high, and this is the reason which defines the restraint of this conversation as its most engaging attribute. A sonic environment in which even the listener is required to move around with circumspection, almost in a “do not disturb” frame of mind, in which unnecessary ornaments and superficial appearances are forbidden, concentrated expressions coming from the core of individual artistry put at the service of altruism. Gold doesn’t show virtuosity deriving from over-trained, worn out expertise but lets us look at a world of intuitions and foresight, finally leading to a peculiar kind of brooding that allows just a couple of short and snappy flare-ups. A dark horse in this lot, a sleeper which time will appoint as one of the deepest releases in Creative Sources’ catalogue. It leaves faint traces in the ear’s memory, but relates strongly to our consciousness. Massimo Ricci (Temporry Fault)

Tired and run down by the endless drudgery of a tedious dayjob tonight. So much so that I really didn’t feel I had the energy to do much else but fall in bed tonight. However I somehow summoned the energy to play the CD I walked to work with again this evening. I am determined to get through all of the Creative Sources discs here and give each of them reasonable attention, so today I played one of this years releases from the label, a disc named Gold by the Berlin based duo of Tony Buck (drums) and Magda Mayas (piano). The CD is split into two tracks, the first called Mercury Machine lasts a fraction over twenty-six minutes, and the second, called Golden just short of eleven. Both seem to have been recorded live at the dOeK Festival in Amsterdam a few days before Christmas in 2007.
Tony Buck is one third of the very popular Australian group The Necks. I have never really been attracted to their often rhythm propelled music to be honest, but have usually found Buck’s material recorded outside of that group enjoyable. His duo with Axel Dorner released on the TES label back in 2004 is a big favourite of mine. On Gold he is credited with drums rather than percussion, and throughout the disc I don’t think he lets go of the drumsticks. On the opening piece, while his playing is often busy, occasionally touching on the frenetic, he avoids obvious rhythms, using only suggestions of them here and there, little broken fragments that don’t quite gel together in the traditional manner. Mayas’ mostly plays the keys, though there is certainly a degree of preparation applied to the strings of her instrument. Throughout Mercury Machine she mainly adds colour and warmth to Buck’s skittering lines, but is by no means a bit part. Where she adds something it always feels well placed, and she somehow seems to avoid gravitating towards Buck’s high activity rate but still make a marked contribution. This first track here stays relatively consistent throughout, reasonably high paced, with Buck leading the way. In places Maya’s piano sounds like it has been too closely recorded as there are spots of distortion on some of the stronger notes, but this just adds to the live feel of the music. The piece ends with a horrible fade however. Presumably in the live setting the duo brought the music to the halt we hear, like old clockwork slowly clanking to a stop, but as the musicians slow down here so the tracks fades out as well in a really obvious, dare I say clumsy manner. Just a little thing, not a big problem in the bigger scheme of things but a little distracting to me.
Golden begins in a really nice way. Mayas comes to the fore a little, and can be heard here playing the inside of the piano a little as well. She slows the pace right down and dictates the gradual, patient feel of the music. Sounds are allowed to die into silence for a second or two, and textures feel more important than the rolling torrents of the first track. After four or five minutes though Buck begins to pick up steam, feeding off of a series of emotive deep notes hammered out by Mayas. As the piece continues he really takes the driving seat, sounding like someone driving a ramshackle old horse and cart with hexagonal wheels quickly down a hollow hill. Mayas spends a while picking rapidly at the strings of her piano, and this little pool of activity from her quietens Buck for a few moments before he comes back alive and closes the track with more manic clockwork sprays.
Gold is a busy but uncomplicated album of well crafted, thoughtful musicianship. The skill of the two players, and Buck in particular is evident right throughout the disc. If I don’t like it as much as others might it could be because of that tendency towards extravagant flourishes. There are probably a few too many rolls across the drums and mini crescendoes for my individual taste, but at times, such as the first few minutes of the second piece, the duo’s music was really captivating, far more subtle than elsewhere on the album. When Buck decided to take the bull by the horns and drag the music off into the fast moving kaleidoscopic shapes he is more known for the track lost a lot of its intrigue for me though. I’d have liked to have heard more of the slower material without the seemingly unavoidable need to build the music into the mini pyrotechnics we see here and there. Still, one that fans of the looser end of free jazz could easily find themselves enjoying, as well as the traditional improv crowd. Gold is a good listen, even if it might have been better titled Silver, crossing the line a quite some way behind Buck’s disc with Dorner in my personal opinion. Richard Pinnell (The Watchful Ear)

A antiga discípula de Misha Mengelberg que descobriu a preparação do piano e o lado percussivo deste e o baterista dos The Necks que vem em paralelo experimentando outras abordagens além das minimalistas juntam-se em “Gold” para uma pesquisa conjunta de técnicas extensivas, momentos havendo em que não percebemos – nem isso importa – se os sons que ouvimos têm origem nas cordas do Grand ou nos pratos do “drumkit”. Se este tipo de experimentalismo improvisado tem fama de “cerebral”, aqui é um jogo profundamente físico de intensidade e densidade, mesmo quando somos transportados para um mundo miniatural. Notável! Rui Eduardo Paes

[…] In contrast, reverberations and rebounds into the soundboard, capotes and escapement are Mayas’ stock-in-trade, as she abrasively vibrating the strings’ speaking length so that additional partials and other tinctures are revealed. Meantime Buck fingernail scrapes along the taunt drum head skins, whacks woodblocks, ratamacues and drags other parts of his kit and worries cymbals to help build the irregular tonality into polyrhythms.
While both timbre-foraging undertakings here expose the same sort of sonic fragments and abrasive echoing partials, “Golden” is preferable because the interaction is more compact and thus more intense. At one point here the pianist launches a single reverberating key thump abutting the soundboard and expands it with foot pedal power while continuous zither-like frails from the strings echo chromatically and sympathetically. Before she moves to hunt, pecks and concluding glissandi, Buck’s mallet pops and stick twisting resonate as much in the air as on his drums. Smacked cymbals and sharp string slashes signal the conclusion.
Wide-ranging rubs and smacks plus ghostly cymbal asides are delineated in greater detail on “Mercury Machine”, as are complementary stop points radiating from the sounded string partials. Some of the isolated chords are further strained when Mayas tool dampens the steel wire. Meanwhile Buck’s percussiveness advances the longer, chromatic improvisation with big top-like drum rolls and woody rebounds.
[…] For her part, Mayas inner-piano risks and atonality, which Zabrodzki eschews, make her CD more striking. But she too can change. In the future perhaps, she could raise her head up higher than the string set and add more tone colors to her improvising than the monochromatic Gold. Ken Waxman (Jazz Word)

As I've wrote so many times, I'm not exactly the greatest fan of piano music and be it for the listening overdose of the instrument over the years or for some childish psychosis for classic music sometimes I really hate it, said that during the last years I've had the chance to listen to some really interesting piano-centered recordings and this fills in the category. A live recording for piano plus drum, a really good sound definition and what's more a brilliant
performance where you can sense the incredible complementarity of this couple of musician. While Magda Mayas performs her piano "total body" using an incredible amount of tricks and sounds, Tony Bucks gets in and out of the crescendos, crosses the scenario with some quasi free drumming interventions but all using the light touch of a ballerina dancing on her toes. These two tracks are about forty minutes long compressively, in both of them lots is happening and follow the same screenplay, so you have quite parts, growing sounds, eruptions and slow downs at the same time the fragments are not so long you get bored when the cd is not over yet. Andrea
Ferraris (Chain DLK)