Eyal Hareuveni wrote a lovely review of HYDRA ENSEMBLE’s VISTAS on SALT PEANUTS. Check it out. The album is available here.
The Hydra Ensemble is a pan-European quartet featuring Croatian cellist Lucija Gregov, Swiss cellist Nina Hitz, Portuguese double bass player Gonçalo Almeida and Dutch electronics wizard Rutger Zuydervelt (known also as Machinefabriek), All are working in the Netherlands and all with different musical backgrounds and interests but determined to stress how intertwined some presumably distinct music genres have become in their daring free improvised dynamics. The music of the Hydra Ensemble constantly and effortlessly shape-shifting between chamber contemporary music, free improvisation, sonic exploration, experimental electronics and anything between, and highlights the versatility of the four musicians.
«Vistas» is the sophomore album of this quartet, following «Voltas» (Inexhaustible Editions, 2021), and it was recorded live at the Worm club in Rotterdam during the Covid-19 pandemic (without an audience, but streamed live) in April 2021. The first «Vistas» is a cinematic and unsettling, chamber drone piece. Almeida’s double bass sets its pulsating heartbeat, Gregov and Hinz’s cellos build the tension with heavy, resonant layers of sound and texture, and Zuydervelt acts as agent provocateur with his disruptive yet subtle and clever palette of electronics.
The following pieces deepen the dark, melancholic spirit of «Vistas» and its fragile, patient and detailed dynamics. On the third «Vista», Zuydervelt’s electronics charge the sonic searches of Almeida, Gregov and Hinz with their intense demonstration of extended bowing techniques with suggestive tension. The tension intensifies even more in the trance-like, mysterious ritual of the fourth «Vista». The fifth and the last «Vista» offers a more playful and optimist interplay with the ironic electronics of Zuydervelt, emphasizing again the fascinating, open sonic vision of this ensemble.
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