Sinton’s solo bass clarinet intro, Mersible, bubbles up from the depths, a brief fragmentary illumination that serves only to deepen the shadows of possibility. Rainey and Hoffman arrive in leisurely fashion, joining Sinton for Bell-ell-ell-ells.
Once together, the trio conjure a tight and intimate, contained improvisation in which reeds stutter, percussion dances, and the substitution of cello brings a lightness to the nimble low end (heard to great effect in the solo on Taiga: A Dance).
Sinton’s bari punches and throbs throughout, adding rhythmic thrust and allowing Rainey to do what he does so well, use the drums as a lead instrument to create a detail-rich, syllable-heavy percussive filigree. Hoffman’s loose, low bass-lines comment on, push and expand the dialogue. He occasionally switches to arco for understated drama.
Some improvisation is combat – competitive, and that can be a thrilling listen. But Sinton, Hoffman and Rainey are all about the communication, the trio conversing via a seemingly spontaneous yet perfectly consistent private language of shorthand subtleties.
Mersible; Bell-ell-ell-ells; Taiga: A Dance; Blockblockblock; Unreliable Mirrors; Propulse; Idonal; Plumbum (47.02)
Sinton (bar, bcl); Christopher Hoffman (clo); Tom Rainey (d). 1 June 2018.
Iluso Records IRCD14