May 9 2018
So, what Escape Argot does is stomp through the glassware shop knocking everything off the shelves, and then, after the damage is done, the trio picks up the shards and rebuilds them as beautiful constructs of melody. This pattern fully emerges on the title-track for Still Writing Letters. The trio of multi-reedist Christoph Grab, pianist Florian Favre and drummer Christoph Steiner launches itself in all directions and throws their weight behind it. It’s almost a little startling how suddenly they’re able to shift into the most delicate phrasings, making the transition seem as natural as thunder to lightning, pressure into peace. Opening track “Die Besseren Ratgeber” hints at this pattern, but only in retrospect. First impression is simply that the trio has decided not to restrict itself to a thin range of tones. It’s only later that they reveal the magic as occurring not in the tonal range but with the shape of the transformations. It’s an impression that makes itself permanent in the way the punchy behavior of “Ueberbauen Mit Herr Mess” melts into a comforting pulse before gearing up to a glittering melodicism that achieves an intensity greater than the tune’s aggressive opening.
Not to be overlooked, however, is that many of those melody constructs are often quite catchy, too. “An Sich” lays the blues on thick and “The Ability to Adapt” takes its approach to subtlety seriously, but even here can be discovered moments of change sufficiently powerful to elicit a smile or an appreciative shake of the head.
Your album personnel: Christoph Grab (reeds), Florian Favre (piano, moog) and Christoph Steiner (drums).
Released on Traumton Records.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Music from Zürich, Switzerland