Flute, harp and percussion are the principal instruments on this recording, though you’d be hard pressed to identify them during the opening measures of “Hamida”, the longest track on the CD. But the buzzing, pulsing drone with which it begins gradually opens out into flute articulations that sound like jets of steam, a barrage of muffled percussion, and various harp-generated supplementary drones. The MUTA soundworld gets richer, louder and more pressurised as the track progresses, and when it thins out towards the end the players’ deft improvisatory gestures become apparent. Rhodri Davies (amplified harp, electronics) has been exploring material similar to this for quite some time with Mark Wastell in Broken Consort, and the delicate balance he strikes there between instrumental technique and raw sound manipulation is matched here in his collaboration with Alessandra Rombolá (flutes, preparations) and the instigator of this project, Ingar Zach (percussion, electronic devices/sound machines).
MUTA is, as the name suggests, primarily concerned with mutability, and as a group enterprise. To bring focus to the group’s improvisations, each of the seven tracks has been built on a pre-determined structure of some kind, although the structures are so discreet it’s rarely apparent what they consist of. The sequence encompassing “Dead Time”, “Passing Time” and “Vertical Time”, which moves from relatively sparse sounds strung along a time line (landscape style), to greater degrees of activity and fluidity, eventually to arrive at an almost ritual stillness, seems to offer a strong correspondence between the music and the track titles. But if the structuring element isn’t the title itself, it’s hard to say what is. No matter; what’s of greater importance is the creativity the musicians have invested in their music making, and the fact that the music they’ve made is good.