Label: A New Wave Of Jazz
**300 copies, 2019 stock** "In its essence, free improvisation is a leap into the unknown. A question mark. And while it is possible to reproduce previously used ideas, in its purest sense it takes balls to accept its challenges, for the simple fact that the performer is out there alone, even when playing with others. Free Improvisation is being naked on a stage. The unavailability of form and reassurance about what is happening next cannot be underestimated. In improvised music, the musician is left at the mercy of his own inventiveness at a particular time and place, and it can be limited because of stress, fatigue, doubt, less than ideal circumstances or by just having an off day.Improvised music that steers away from imposed structures or clear-cut resolve has different aims. It is about developing something, alone or together. It doesn’t have to be pretty or logical, but it needs to start from nothing and lead to something. ‘Something’ being a cohesive trajectory, a mirror palace, a series of techniques/approaches, a continuous tension, a search for textural potential, a quest for new possibilities... It is also the playing ground of those who can deal with self-imposed marginalization. If you are working like this, it is almost a paradox to expect anybody else to be interested in what you have to say in the first place. Especially if you consider the fact that the music is gone once the final note of the performance has died.In a way, recordings of freely improvised music are ridiculous artefacts. They capture what was related to a specific time and place. Yet, records can attest that what happens under such circumstances can survive that moment, as long as there is an audience (size doesn’t matter) willing to go along on a journey that might be one of frustration or even incomprehension. It is this risk, as well as the potential to transcend these limitations, that lures you into this kind of music. The kind of music that Martina Verhoeven and Dirk Serries have been exploring these past years with increasing confidence and rapport.While Verhoeven’s contributions were initially in the visuals of Serries’ discography, she switched to music, starting with 3 Seconds Of Air, the pair’s trio with guitarist Paul Van den Berg, and recently on records with Fantoom (with Dead Neanderthals) and Colin Webster. On these records, she focused on the double bass. Here, however, she plays the piano, while Series uses a Western acoustic guitar. For both of them, that is a first (on a recording, at least), maybe also referencing the title of this album that feels like a five-part suite delving into the unknown.If some of the above comments might come off as a celebration of arbitrariness, well, that is… true. Partly. Innocent As Virgin Wood is definitely not the kind of album that will leave you fulfilled if you crave a story with closure, with clear-cut ideas or interactions. You could start, however, by finding the areas where the five movements pass the baton, so to speak. Besides this, there are mostly personal impressions and descriptions, for instance about how Verhoeven seems to prefer an alternation of sudden, brief clusters in the higher register and slowly dissolving notes, while Serries answers with abstract colorations, squeakily bended tones, sudden grips and releases, atonal strumming and changing textures.You do not get any answers, grand messages or consolation here. If anything, it is more along the lines of what John Corbett once called “(…) a new way of thinking about sound and space and temporal experience and personal interaction”. In all its intimacy and relative ‘smallness’, an album like this broadens our sense of freedom and possibilities. And in times like these, that is something worth hearing." - Guy Peters
Martina Verhoeven : piano
Dirk Serries : acoustic guitar
Performed, recorded and mixed at Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium) on April 9th 2017. Mastered by Dirk Serries.