(Improvijazzation Nation no. 71) Many of you probably know that I've worked extensively with San Francisco-based multi-instrumentalist/performer Ernesto Diaz-Infante over the last 8 years. That is, of course, what made me pull this particular CD from the huge stack that Bryan Day, of the Public Eyesore label, sent me last month. One note of caution for listeners... if you are the type of person that demands (at least) some semblance of structure, or pattern... you had better move on along. All of the compositions are sparse, with lots of "space" between the notes... there are moments when you will find yourself wondering if it's time to eject the disc. Stick around... if your ears have adventure in them, you'll soon realize that this trio are true masters at minimalism, & that (if you give it a chance), they will wind up holding you spellbound! Go back to the title & consider it; then think about it in the context of your third listen (all the way, don't cheat) through the CD. Some listeners probably won't be able to "hang in" that long... but those who do will be rewarded with a listening experience that is truly unique & totally improvised. This one gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - Rotcod Zzaj
(Touching Extremes 10/17/2004) Most of the aural spectrum of this three-way subdued exchange of small noises and peripheral notes is centred around percussive attacks, electric dirt and discarded phrase fragments. Ernesto, Chris and Lars extrapolate particles of interferent yet nicely calibrated stray sounds, enjoying a leisure time made of many interrogations and few answers. While acoustic and electric guitars often nod to each other, revealing a not so obvious connection to the overall structure, the purring/scraping tone of Scherzberg's alto sax is a very reliable glue to keep things under a quite strict confinement. Though certainly not solar, this music hides a lot of knots that, once untied, make our fascination with it much stronger; its solidification happens right in front of us. - Massimo Ricci
(Signal to Noise) After the physicality of The Nature of Things, the dry asceticism of A Barren Place is equally as bracing, a barren landscape of small sound friction, tension and suspension. Diaz-Infante on acoustic guitar, Brooklyn's Forsyth on electric guitar and Hamburg's Scherzberg on alto sax have clearly studied the particle physics minimalism of British improvisors like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and Paul Rutherford. Occasionally, the pointillistic exchanges rise above skittering, jittery dances of harmonic and rhythmic gestures, but like a trio of magnets these improvisors seem to be content to not let their detailed non-idiomatic rubbings and bleatings come to close to one another. That is not to underplay the interplay between the musicians, it is just as with other lower case works silence and space are just as equal partners to the sound construction as the instrumentalists. - Richard Moule
(Vital Weekly no. 443) Our man Ernesto Diaz-Infante is a main player of the US west-coast improv scene. He plays acoustic guitar on this new release, which was recorded in Berlin, with Chris Forsyth on electric guitar and Lars Scherzberg on alto saxophone. The five pieces on this release all seem to be influenced by the Japanese onkyo music, playing on the edge of silence, although this trio stays firmly on the audible side of things and this throughout the entire length of all five pieces. They explore the sound posibilities of their instruments by turning them inside and outside, by using them as percussion instruments, by rubbing them and a conventional technique is nowhere insight. Quite an intense but joyful set of improvisations. - Frans de Waard
(Ampersand Etcetera 7/2005) Forsyth¹s is amplified to give humms and feedback, and Scherberg blows through a reeded pipe. You could say guitars and sax, but the trio avoids the usual sonorities. Rather there is scraping, blowing and breathing, percussive taps, occasional notes - a focussed minimalism. The tracks emerge out of silence and disappear into it, and they are mixed quite softly. The aim here is to create an atmosphere, the approach and playing are low key, with restraint and subtlety. Seemingly almost autonomous the players gently weave through each others soundscapes. Don¹t expect drama, but enjoy the mood that these three create. - Jeremy Keens
(Dead Angel 7/2005) Five tracks from a meeting of the minds in Berlin -- San Francisco treated-guitar wizard Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Brooklyn electric guitarist Chris Forsyth, and Hamburg alto saxophonist Lars Scherzberg -- recorded by Scherzberg in Berlin on March 13, 2002. The five tracks are generally lengthy (all but one are over nine minutes each; the "short" one is only 6:15) and feature improvised noise made from the various instruments in minimalist fashion. The musicians play off each other, against each other, and sometimes even with each other, wresting peculiar and often unfathomable noises from their instruments. This is not a wall-shaking noisefest, however -- the action is largely restrained, and on some tracks (like the first), there's plenty of silent spaces between the bursts of sonic anarchy. These are exercises in patience, as disparate sounds are drawn out slowly and in cryptic fashion; wherever it is they're going, they're taking their time about it, and you'll just have to wait until they get there. As the title suggests, this album is about simple sounds, and frequently more about the spaces between those sounds than the sounds themselves. The fourth (and shortest) track and the fifth one are the only ones with the most action, and even then that only rises to brief levels of intensity before settling back into the pattern of subdued thumping and bumping. The overall effect has less to do with music in any accepted sense of the word and more with spatial composition and the deep, burning need to make strange noises. Powerfully cryptic stuff for your minimalist inner child. - RKF
(Neozine) It’s the perfect name for such a minimalist project. This is almost overwhelming in its simplicity. Here and there you’ll hear some sparse instrumentation, but its one of those CD’s where you have to keep checking the display on your machine to see if it is really over or just being quiet again. I like everything that I hear, even though it is just a chaotic sprinkle of unlikely far-flung distractions (some people like that sort of thing.) I’ll bet the people who sold them those instruments didn’t even know that they could make those sounds. - C.H.C.