Tantalisingly brief, more an EP than a full album, feel the quality not the width, the New York-based Painting duo of German-born pianist Emanuel Ruffler and Seattle drummer Kassa Overall release their debut Gravity (Rufftone ****) later this summer.
Together as a playing entity for three years first performing together, according to their website “at a gig in a Brooklyn bike store,” the wheel turns in more senses than that convenient metaphor here.
Ruffler is the kind of player who certainly has appeal to Craig Taborn or Kris Davis fans and Overall plays very free, almost multi-directional at times but often more in a style familiar from Gerald Cleaver’s approach, cascading ever outwards.
As a duo a tipping point is quickly reached far beyond sheer musical vocabulary and relies on a no-safety-net sense of free expression.
The pieces are very brief, as short as just under two minutes on ‘Straight Emptiness / Like a Glass Inside of Glass’, the longest the opener and extravagantly titled ‘Gravity Pushes Me Down While Bubbles Rise to the Top.’
A poem in the artwork gives clues to their inspiration... an earthquake in Japan caused by the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, a trembling coastline, radioactive fallout... eventual serenity.
Theirs is a poetic hugely immersive highly intellectualised style, the power in their ideas contained within the exploitation of space, silence and freedom. SG
Check out Painting in their video above