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This exceptionally rare trio date led by pianist Urs Voerkel is full of racheting tensions and blissful dissipations. Percussionist Lovens and bassist Frey deliver sympathetic accompaniment, knowing when to underpin the melodic motifs and when to undermine them. There's an impressive sense of percolating momentum and tumult that never lets up. As Melody Maker wrote on its release: "Really, you should hear this album!"
"It’s worth noting in passing that 'Voerkel-Frey-Lovens' is wrapped in the worst album jacket I have ever seen. But the music, well, that’s something else. Like, the most disciplined, exacting, and thoroughly together recorded free music to have come this way in quite some time.
Surprisingly, it’s quite a melodic record, although Voerkel chooses to chop his songs into darting, quicksilver fragments. Even Lovens is obviously very concerned with pitch on this date, working inward from the rims of his customized tom-toms to draw out the maximum number of available timbres. Similarly, Frey concentrates on the textural and melodic possibilities of bowing. The apparently contradictory elements here are also interesting – on the one hand, Voerkel’s delicate piano statement; on the other, howling arco bass from Frey. Again, it’s Lovens that holds it together, commuting keenly from one viewpoint to the other (and back). 'Kämme', the only Voerkel composition on side one, bears witness to Urs’ hip, inquiring mind. The piece makes use of a whole series of melodramatic climaxes that build from the mildest of keyboard motifs, only to subside into near-tranquility once again.
Lovens brings a rumbling sense of threat to his own tune. 'Im Wasser', a halting, convoluted piece built around drum/bass outbursts which Voerkel embroiders with dexterity. Really…you should hear this album." - Steve Lake, Melody Maker
"Urs Voerkel’s playing on this trio record reminds me sometimes of Paul Bley’s work circa 1964/65. Tension building very slowly to points where the music becomes concentrated then fading away – a very pleasant experience on this particular record." - Musics
Urs Voerkel: piano
Peter K. Frey: double bass
Paul Lovens: percussion
Recorded by Jost Gebers in May 1976 in Berlin.
CD mastering by Olaf Rupp.
Produced by Jost Gebers.
Cover design by Paul Lovens.
Photographs: front by Paul Lovens, back by Dagmar Gebers.