KODIAN TRIO by Shaun Cullen
photo by Shaun Cullen 2015.

Some are building directly on the foundations of pioneers while others are always on the lookout for fresh, contemporary sounds, or try to combine them. But they’re all united by a similar curiosity, a search for finding their own voices, and a never-ending reinvention of themselves.

Improvising power unit KODIAN TRIO rose from the ashes of a scorching concert at London’s Café Oto in 2015. Already eight years later and armed with three major studio albums and multiple live appearances later, the trio have become major contenders on the fertile and outward-looking European scene. The trio is a working band in a constant explorative phase, from the first modest steps to the confident live reputation they have created.  KODIAN TRIO is a unique one with 3 strong musicians constantly challenging themselves to move further and beyond.  

This is free music that actually lives up to its ambitions and frequently uses its maximum potential for individual and collective freedom, while at the same time maintaining a coherence that only becomes apparent with repeated and/or intense listening. It requires an effort, but the rewards are an insight into a unique musical language.

the three confidently navigate their way through real-time improvisations scalding to the touch. Yes, blistering episodes surface—dissonant squeals from Dikeman, prickly shards from Serries, and volatile flourishes by Lisle—but so too do fleeting moments of calm as the trio brings a unified sensibility to the undertaking. With the exception of the surprisingly restrained fifteen-minute closer “III,” I catches the trio breathing communal fire: imagine forty-six minutes of bristling, molten improv and you’re in the right ballpark. I offers compelling exercises in musical democracy.” Textura – Canada

Kodian Trio biedt de luisteraar geen hapklare brokken muziek, maar levert met ‘I’ een ruwe, wringende en stompende plaat af die om veelvoudige beluistering vraagt alvorens het muzikaal gebodene volledig op waarde kan worden geschat. Hoeveel de muzikanten soms ook tegen elkaar in lijken te musiceren, steeds blijft – soms op onnavolgbare wijze – de  controle behouden. In de ontoegankelijke, bij tijd en wijle abstracte muziek ligt een flinke dosis inventivieit en subtiliteit verscholen van drie uitblinkende vrije impro-musici.Opduvel – The Netherlands

These musicians are far too talented to simply go hell for leather or indulge in macho noise grandstanding. Instead, their noise-making has an intricacy and control while still sounding spontaneous and raw. Webster tends to avoid the obvious low end raunch of the baritone, using its sheer physicality to lend force to high register squalls and breath effects. His introduction of the alto sax halfway through the third side is an unexpected delight, as he embarks on a bright, Eastern European tinged solo over some of Lisles’s most energetic and inventive drumming. The long drones and deconstructed funk of the final side bring further evidence of this trio’s resourcefulness and imagination.The Quietus – UK

London-based saxophonist Colin Webster quickly established himself on the European avant-garde scene. Working with a broad range of collaborators, Webster is known for working from extreme sonic palettes  – from minimal to maximal, constantly pushing boundaries.  Webster first worked with Serries on the landmark ‘Endless Voids’ performance led by Dead Neanderthals at the 2014 Incubate Festival. Since this initial meeting, the two have worked on different collaborations both live and in the studio, a number of these encounters involving the drummer Andrew Lisle.

Also based in London, Andrew Lisle’s quick and highly textural playing is making him highly in-demand in the fertile improvisation community. In turns both propulsive and abstract, Lisle has works with many leading voices on the UK and European improvised music scene, including Kit Downes, John Edwards, Ab Baars, Rodrigo Amado and John Dikeman.

Dirk Serries – curator of the A New Wave of Jazz label – is hardly your average improvising musician. Even though the man has a fondness for the classic free jazz of the sixties and seventies and the current updates, his own talents lie elsewhere. As a master of texture, a skill which he’s been able to forge and refine for more than 30 years (as vidnaObmana, Fear Falls Burning, Microphonics, with collaborative projects and, more recently, under his own name), he has always been involved in the more abstract, or sound-oriented wing of experimental music. Serries is now less reliant on his trademark effects and loops. A new ‘naked’ language that veers from gentle strumming to scribbling, pointillism, and occasional outbursts of disjointed howls. Pulling from his great experience in the worlds of ambient and industrial music, as well as from masters like Derek Bailey, Serries’ approach is improvisation that relies purely on his relationship with his electric guitar, prepared or not.