Aries Point records an unexpected encounter between the jazz trio of trumpet player Bastian Stein and a consort of viols, the Hathor Consort. The result is an experience of rare intensity, yet filled with great gentleness, in a universe sometimes verging on meditation. A genuine aesthetic and sonic experiment.
Since my first encounter with the Hathor Consort, it has been obvious to me that the sound of the viola da gamba complements the harmonic and melodic style of my compositions wonderfully well and with utter naturalness. The pieces on Aries Point therefore not only combine two musical eras, but also give the sound colour of the viola da gamba a central place as a key compositional element. Its unique timbre influences the process of composition and improvisation and resonates in a completely new musical context. Its subtle intensity brings out textures which, in their turn, inspire jazz musicians to adopt new forms of melodic and sonic expression in the course of their improvisations. In jazz, the process of improvisation could also be called ‘instant composing’. A central element is the variation of the themes and the interaction between the musicians. In composition too, the repeated variation of patterns – through changes in key, rhythm, note order – creates material that serves to weave the melodies and harmonies of the work. With the Aries Point project, I wish to introduce a wider public to the beauty and diversity of improvisation, that ancestral form which lies at the source of all musical expression. - Bastian Stein