Mirobolus String Trio | Scratching The Surface

Anaglyph Records

Didn’t Saga (or another fine 80’s Canadian act) have a song entitled “Scratching the Surface”? Yeah — I remember that unmistakably heavy bass line along with the persistent crappy vocals courtesy of whoever the lead singer was. To give Saga some credit, I must say, the song stuck in my head for the longest time. Scratching the Surface is also the debut album from a Toronto outfit, by the name of Mirobolus String Trio, that borrowed its name from a series of paintings by French artist Jean Dubuffet.

Made up of bassist Bret Higgins, cellist Monica Fedrigo and violinist Bogdan Djukic, the Trio is up and at it, trying hard to prove themselves as contenders for the premier new music ensemble in Canada. Young blood they are — all three look like they’ve recently graduated from music institutes but that’s a good thing actually. If anything, what the Canadian music scene needs now is new blood that’s willing to take over from those who wilted on the concert stages long ago.

Simply put, this music is about passion and drive. The lovely, though never romantic cello lines presented by Monica Fedrigo somehow align themselves in perfect unison with the somewhat more muscular bass playing of Bret Higgins. The overriding factor seems to be the frenzied violin playing by Bogdan Djukic. The way he presents himself — mostly bold but at times, slowing the pace down a notch — is commendable. Sometimes the trio’s work resembles that of Masada String Trio, but that’s a good thing.

Though all of the pieces are written (there are credits attached to each piece), what I love about the disc is the fact that a good number of these sound like they’ve been improvised from scratch. Interplay between all three members is heavy and downright cozy. It’s as if they’ve known each other for ages (though, in fact they’ve only been playing together since 2002). There are tender moments but nothing really suggests they’re getting sappy on the listener or going soft. This is new music as it’s meant to be — full of life, passion and a drive to push things forward. All of this and coming straight out of our own backyard.

Tom Sekowski – July 06

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Tom Sekowski
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