Label: Coup Perdu CD/LP
Released: 29th June 2015
CD distributed by Harmonia Mundi -LP available from www.coupperdu.com and selected stores
June 6th – Tricko (& Kit Downes Trio) – King’s Place Hall 2 -York Way, N1, £8pm, £12.50
“One of the finest pianists of his generation” Timeout Magazine
“Everyone’s favourite new pianist” The Observer
Diving into the space between the organised and the disorganised, Mercury Music Prize nominated composer and pianist, Kit Downes, pulls together the lyricism and big-beat of his favourite minimalists, the imagination and intensity of his favourite modern jazz composers, ballads from nearby circling ice-cream vans and his own light-footed approach to improvisation in this – his new ensemble, Tricko. Downes (piano and compositions) is joined by cellist Lucy Railton (curator and creator of London Contemporary Music Festival and Klammer Klang) forming a pairing that is at once both dark and detailed, colourful and contemplative. Tricko is Downes’ first recording for the Coup Perdu label and is available on CD and on LP where the glorious 24 bit recording really comes into it’s own. The distinctive cover painting is by Jackie Berridge and is from the private collection of label owner Glenn Armstrong.
Downes and Railton first met when they studied together at the Royal Academy of Music (between 2006-2010) their paths continued to cross in London’s improvised/new-music scenes until Kit finally started writing for cello (vicariously living out his dream as a frustrated cellist), at which point this ensemble was formed. Their music is expansive in scope, sonically rich – and enjoys simple things put in unusual ways. Downes’ music explores the way that music can change the perception of time and scale.
“Music’s ability to somehow alter a person’s internal clock, to shift one into a wider orbit, has always interested me. When I started work on this album I realised that these same feelings can be experienced during the process of writing music as well as listening to it. Consequently I focused on the development of the compositions and resisted any urge to finish the pieces on impulse. By allowing incremental change, all decisions for the music come from a place of choice rather than from necessity. As a result this meant that none of my initial ideas survived, though each would lead, piece by piece, to the completion of the entire record. In the end it felt liberating to appreciate that mutability itself can be a creative force”. Kit Downes
Tricko opens with the gripping Jinn named after a smoke spirit that is impossible to catch as it slips endlessly out of reach. The beguiling Alliri draws on Downes love for Ravel and explores one melodic idea in as many different ways as possible. It also represents an experiment in playing in two keys at once whilst making them sound complimentary. Downes states that it is “about pairs of things, dancing together, pulling and pushing away and towards each other”. The beautiful Waira is named for a mountain lurking demon from Japanese folklore and evokes rainfall in the Japanese mountains. The beguiling, deceptive title track, Tricko, is partly inspired by a love for John Adams and is a study in voice leading, with pivot notes within chords, stepping from one to another, slowly changing, giving it a jaunty, entrancing feel. Ihno recalls plainsong, direct but very light, it utilises different ranges of the cello to conjure something slow and ancient, but also everyday, but perhaps not commonplace. The volatile, playful Arcane is a magician’s piece, picking rhythmic patterns out of hats. Finally Helkalen is named for a small town very far to the north, very cold and far from the rest of the world and rarely visited. Likewise, it is that sense of this music existing in its own geography that gives Tricko such strength. Gentle and contemplative there is nonetheless a quiet power to Downes new ensemble and something truly magical as they conjure a rich, deceptively simple, but deeply complex and always lyrical musical world uniquely their own.