Chris Cogburn, Bonnie Jones, Bhob Rainey — Arena Ladridos (2010, Another Timbre)
Recorded live in 2010 during two dates in Texas, USA, Arena Ladridos sees the trio of Chris Cogburn (percussion), Bonnie Jones (electronics), and Bhob Rainey (Soprano Saxophone) combine for two twenty-minute plus exploratory works. At the outset, you’d do well to light incense and settle-in. The tinkling of chimes and soft electronics set the tone for the first set recorded in Austin (“Govalle”). The piece is relatively restrained; Rainey’s soft blows mix with Jones’ electronic whispers. Occasionally, the banal sounds of daily life surface in the background (traffic, barking dogs). Jones sporadically interjects with electronic streams of sound that squawk, hum, and screech. Cogburn prefers to utilize his trapset for its resonant characteristics in place of straight playing. Of the lot, Rainey is generally the most subdued, only playing in a traditional manner in the final two minutes of the piece and doing so only for mere seconds. The piece ends like a sunset and is over before you know it. The second performance is in (and entitled) “Marfa.” Opening with percussive thuds and rattling (rimshots, perhaps?), coupled with tenuous blows from Rainey. In the second piece, Jones is a bit harder to pick out until around half way through the set (11:20-11:30 mark). At this point, Cogburn puts his cymbals through the rounds with the butt end of his sticks and the trio collectively crescendo into a bold, blustery, and radiant hum, before rolling into the restrained and inquisitive quietude, ubiquitous on this release. In the final minute of the performance, Cogburn’s swirling rakes function as an aural equivalent to riding off in the sunset. As the group slowly, mysteriously, and with much deliberation, fades away. An excellent release, which makes for great early morning listening, before the sleeping masses rise and rub the sleep from their eyes.