VITAL WEEKLY reviews

MARTINA VERHOEVEN & DIRK SERRIES – INNOCENT AS VIRGIN WOOD (CD, A New Wave Of Jazz 2017)

“This week I had this strange vision of ‘free jazz and improvisation is where the money is’, after sending our compadre senor Mulder a whole bundle of music from ActuelleCD, WideEar, Innova and one from  New Wave Of Jazz. Maybe up to 10 or 11 CDs (so allow some patience before reading about them; and yes, no doubt musicians of this kind of music will disagree with my remark about money), but not after checking the content myself, as surely in the case of New Wave Of Jazz, I see the involvement of Dirk
Serries, someone whose work I heard over thirty years ago for the first time, and while I wouldn’t call  myself a fan I followed his work with interest. First as Vidna Obmana, going from a bit of noise to ambient with lots of synthesizers, then as Fears Falls Burning, lots of ambient with a guitar, Microphonies, ditto, and I already picked up the rumour he’s now (also) into very freely improvised music, and this is actually the first time I get to hear too. Well, not entirely the first, as the group effort he’s also send is way more Dolf’s thing and I heard that too, and I thought this would be along similar lines, but I kept listening here and decided to share my (re) view of it. Serries plays here acoustic guitar and Martina Verhoeven plays piano. She is Dirk’s wife and best known for her photography on the cover of many of Serries’ releases, but also on Discogs listed as a bass-player; and piano apparently; for both Serries on acoustic guitar and Verhoeven on the piano it is the first time. On April 9th, 2017, they recorded the five parts of ‘Innocent As Virgin Wood’ together, and I understand the title as homage to the wood of both instruments. They don’t sound, i.e. are virgin, if you don’t play them and are thus
innocent, but of course they are no longer innocent.   I do review a bit of improvised music, perhaps not often of the kind of blearing saxophones and wild banging on piano’s, but more of the kind that is presented by Serries and Verhoeven here. This is very
quiet and thoughtful music, almost impressionistic, with sparse tones hanging freely in the air. Quiet, however, doesn’t equal silence here; there is always something to hear, but Verhoeven and Serries have an excellent control over their instruments (no doubt there have been some playing before the actual recording started to get some feeling for the instruments) to make it held back, controlled and full of tension and interaction between both players. It never becomes hectic or chaotic, but throughout it remains this level of minimalism, even in those sparse moments things go up a bit in volume, or a few more notes are played. This is all very intimate music and exactly the kind of free improvised music I enjoy very much.” Vital Weekly – The Netherlands

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