|Didnt Saga (or another fine 80s 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 theyve recently graduated from music institutes but thats a good thing actually. If anything, what the Canadian music scene needs now is new blood thats 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 trios work resembles that of Masada String Trio, but thats 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 theyve been improvised from scratch. Interplay between all three members is heavy and downright cozy. Its as if theyve known each other for ages (though, in fact theyve only been playing together since 2002). There are tender moments but nothing really suggests theyre getting sappy on the listener or going soft. This is new music as its 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