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In Praise of Ephemeral Architecture, by Martí Farré
What does faith mean to someone who works on music from the complete opposite of the norm? This is the first question we should ask ourselves when examining the trope according to which any music that is improvised or simply unpredictable cannot be faithful to a dogma, a revealed truth–even if others assert that nothing, not even avantgarde music, can be disengaged from its own codes, its own orthodoxy anymore. In other words: everything that can be invented has been invented. In actual fact, chances are that accomplished ironists Albert Cirera and Ramon Prats don’t give a damn about their music conforming to a dogma or not. Their indestructible faith focuses on their free, spontaneous demeanor, far removed from boring, sterile debates, transcendental mannerisms and opposing sides. These two musicians play a central role in a little big revolution in the Barcelona music scene: the attempt to demolish the partisan divide separating indoctrinated jazzmen (supposedly in music schoolrooms) from self-taught avant-gardists. A fascinating controversy if there was ever one.
Just after graduating in 2008 Ramon Prats and Albert Cirera broke out their different way to play, their special style to approach melodies and rhythms. They did that in the late 2000s on the fabled “Robadors Grant” with a profusion of games, infections, cactii, hard-working crews, bacterial speakers and especially ideas of every description. Later they toured such different latitudes as Russia, the Basque Country, Scandinavia, Portugal, Eastern Europe, Burgos, Banyoles, the Costa Brava Jazz Festival or the legendary Juan Sebastian Bar at the capital of Upper Aragon. They were also guilty of eccentricities (e.g., a 10-hour concert to mark their tenth anniversary) and particularly collaborations: hurdy gurdy player Marc Egea, guitarist Andy Moor (with whom they recorded Food (2017)), dancers Juliette Louste and Tura Coll, guitarist Florien Stoffner, double bass players Àlex Reviriego and Johannes Nästesjö, violinist Carlos Zingaro, trumpet player Iván González, piano players Agustí Fernández (a master and an inspiration to them) and Josep-Maria Balanyà, cellist Paul Stouthamer… A unique collection of distinguished partners.
Whether accompanied or by themselves, Duot have created music based on the same premise at every step: building larger-than-life soundworks out of vertigo, as though they were walking a tightrope without safety net. Cirera & Prats are masters at navigating adrift and suddenly hatching sound climates and landscapes. Architects of ephemeral geometry, their music could be portrayed with barrel vaults, spiraling columns, curved mirrors and, above all else, domes like the “cúpules” on the title of their record Fe’s 6th track. After the almost piercing depth of “Cúpula 1”, a proclamation of sorts, we get to the volcanic blast of “Cúpula 2”. Then comes the reverberating use of noise in “Cúpula 3”, followed by “Cúpula 4” ‘s fitful transit and the Taj Mahal reminiscences of “Cúpula 5”. Lastly, “Cúpula 6” is a contrasting piece, as immensely powerful as the two previous ones, that takes another way to go back to the climactic depth of “Cúpula 1”–a perfect ending.
If you enter this impassioned exploration of the depths of ephemeral architecture, you will conclude that everything adds up in the Duot universe… everything flows in a sublime harmony. Have faith.
«Silence, concentration, echo of reflection, small phrases, played for the counterweight with a fairly clear timbre, lead us to meet the last sound of the album, which today puts Duo DUOT among the aces of free improvisation of the 21st century. Bravo!» – Andrzej Nowak / Spontaneous Music Tribune