JAZZWORD‘s Ken Waxman wrote a lovely review on ONNO GOVAERT + VERHOEVEN/SERRIES’ Twofold album. This double cd is still available from our store at bandcamp.
“Frequently called upon to power larger groups like Cactus Truck and Kaja Draksler’s Octet, Dutch drummer Onno Govaert brings his mature approach to duets with two adventurous Belgian improvisers: pianist Martina Verhoeven and guitarist Dirk Serries. Going one-on-one with each on one CD of the is two CD set, the result is an extension of for instance Han Bennink’s duos with Derek Bailey or Baby Sommer’s with Cecil Taylor. A much less percussive pianist than Taylor. Over the course of these three parts of her program with Govaert, Verhoeven’s dynamic range moves from delicate clips and almost literal key tickles from the piano’s highest range to pedal point emphasis which is immersed in the bass clef. Energetic and swaying her linear motions include speedy glissandi and metronomic pacing as she pours notes into the narrative. To link up with the multiple textures or single note patterns from the pianist, Govaert too takes on diverse identities. Drum smacks and cymbal clashes meet her pressurized runs while bell-ringing plinks and wood block pings contrast with dark soundboard rumbles. The tightened interaction usually includes repeated expressions from each side. Most tracks start quietly and intensely with Verhoeven projecting a straight-ahead theme. As variants flow from each, the piece gradually becomes louder and chunkier with drum variations encompassing descriptive ruffs and extended press rolls. The concluding section moves down to stop-start chording and spaced drum taps that meld matured expression with references to the improvisation’s head.
Serries’ amplified acoustic guitar adds a metallic tinge to his single-track meeting with Govaert. Spaced with silent interludes and sequences of pressure and ease, the piece evolves with as many strong strokes from the guitarist as the drummer. Throughout with swishing cymbals, drags and reverberations, Govaert meets National steel-sounding twangs and slurred fingering buzzes with restraint. Serries sometimes pivot to string strums as well as brief passages that involve the highest timbres of the guitar up near the tuning pegs. Moving from anvil-hard crunches to pinpointed rim cranks the drummer eventually joins the guitarist in a reflective story-telling mode. As the track action is resolved with drum top rubs and smoothly paced frails, a final drum thump signals the finale.
Without overstepping the boundaries of taste and focus, each disc projects a mature mixture of idiophone and chordal instrument timbre. Each can be listened to for appreciation of the close-knit evolution of cohesive ideas.” Jazzword – Canada
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