Position is both key and title to this satisfying collection consisting largely of deep, tone/drone-based improvisations instigated by Dutch composer Martijn Tellinga in locations as disparate as Australia, Argentina and the Netherlands. Titles such as ‘Three Modulators, for Trombones’ might inform us as to the apparatus in use, but the performance (or listening) is explicitly defined by the acoustic space in which the novel combination of three trombonists make their foray throughout the performance. With similar inquisitiveness, two musicians circulate the venue for an unannounced performance in ‘Truth, Exercises For a Listener’, handheld recorders brimming with the sounds of chattering audience members.
Correspondingly, the music veers from immediate and involving to frustratingly distant, the exploratory nature of the performances demanding a willingness to tune into the delicate relationship between sound and space, which isn’t always easy: the closer ‘Positions for those involved’ – an interactive piece for audience members – lacks any of the excitement one might have intimated from such a spontaneous arrangement. Fortunately, virtuous editing shears these recordings of the painful emptiness of space and purpose that often leaves improvised performances dull and directionless. Stuart Marshall