Vasco Trilla : The Torch in my Ear

IZK CD079 - april 2018


Vasco Trilla : percussion solo



The Torch in My Ear is the third solo percussion album from Trilla, following The Suspended Step(Discordian, 2o16) and The Rainbow Serpent (FMR, 2016). It is titled after the memoir of novelist-playwright Elias Canetti (1905-1994, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1981), who wrote elsewhere that “every completely unknown language is a kind of acoustic mask; as soon as one learns it, it becomes a face, understandable and soon familiar”. The information about this album is scarce, the names of percussion instruments and devices are masked, and the cover only informs that it was recorded at Golden Apple Studios in Barcelona, without mentioning the date of recording. 
  Trilla structured three extended and multilayered pieces to sound like masks. All conceal their complex vocabularies and syntax, expressed beneath its initial, disarming opening sounds. These pieces sound as developing organically, almost as self-generating, vibrant percussive machines textures. All have similar, disciplined and slow-cooking conceptions of space and time, but all blossom and branch in totally different intriguing manners. The first one, “Acoustic Masks”, offers quiet and distant storms that gently touch and go with their ritualist, meditative sounds. These resonant and enigmatic sounds offer at first rare disarming qualities, but as this piece gains more power and volition these sounds become more invigorating. The second piece, “Unsweep”, also begins with meditative percussive sounds but suggests a different kind of tranquil atmosphere, where echoing sounds float and vibrate gently in space. Soon these ceremonial sounds are disciplined in clear rhythmic patterns, methodically gaining more timbral and rhythmic nuances until this piece morphs into a gentle dance but ends in a tensed note. The last piece, “Solenoid” begins is the most disciplined one. Its minimalist and peaceful spirit sound like an ethereal abstraction of Steve Reich composition. 

Eyal Hareuveni , Free jazz blog


Elias Canetti, whose memoir The Torch in My Ear lit the flame for Vasco Trilla’s latest solo work, wrote elsewhere that “every completely unknown language is a kind of acoustic mask; as soon as one learns it, it becomes a face, understandable and soon familiar.” Like many improvisations, these solo works may seem like masks at first: inscrutable fronts that conceal the “ferment of the as yet unclear and uncompleted metamorphoses” that are expressed beneath. The music in these three performances seems self-generating, like languages invented as they are first being spoken. There’s a feeling of inevitability in the way each proceeds from a slight origin, unfolding chains of cause and effect, blossoming and branching outgrowths of sound whose beauty we can admire but whose secret meaning we fear we’ll never comprehend. But make no mistake: they are ferments of the masterful Trilla, fruits of a musical intellect that becomes more assured with each solo release, his performances growing broader in timbre and longer in time. To sit with this music, to settle into its rhythms and learn its inflections, is to become familiar with what is unfamiliar, to decipher the language, to see the mask soften into a face.

(Dan Sorrells, March 2018)