Published Feb 24, 2020Birthed in the belly of a steel water tank in the Colorado desert, Montreal-based saxophonist Ida Toninato's new album lives up to its title, sonically and in every other way. The TANK Center for Sonic Arts offers the opportunity for musicians to play with 40 seconds of reverb. Toninato's approach made the space into more of a collaborator than just an auditory environment, and the results speak to the partnership's success.
Toninato's lines are mostly long and deliberate, allowing the resonance of both her baritone instrument and the ambience to slowly cohere into shapes and colours, before dropping definitive melodic statements into the mix. On the title track, the saxophone is supported by a declarative bell, the mechanical sound of key depressions and the whirl of windswept after-sounds, all setting up a gargantuan moment of emergence for the deepest of tones.
The album is a marvel of technique and emotion, of patience and careful post-production, combining long near-silences with beautiful and terrifying reverberant tones that multiply in fractal form, each detail as rich and intense as its source. It celebrates the grandness of sound in space, but occasionally, as with the tiny voice that whispers amidst the rumble at the beginning of "Pour Retourner Au Silence," it underlines our tiny place in that universe. (Dragon's Eye)