COMPOSERS: Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum
ALBUM TITLE: Nikki Yeoh’s Infinitum
PERFORMER: Nikki Yeoh, Joanna MacGregor (p), Michael Mondesir (b), Keith Le Blanc (d)
CATALOGUE NO: SC 001(£10 from SoundCircus, Freepost RG2558, PO Box 354, Reading RG2 7BR or www.soundcircus.com)
She’s only 23 but it still seems extraordinary that this is pianist Nikki Yeoh’s first time on disc. London-based Yeoh has established a reputation as a fiendish player and yet resisted the blandishments of the big labels. This collaboration with classical contrarian Joanna MacGregor, who set up SoundCircus with audio journal Unknown Public, is destined to be a collectors’ item.
There are only three pieces here, all written by Yeoh, but they seethe with such riches that non-collectors shouldn’t be put off. The first number has both pianos dancing a tight, precarious duet over and under Mondesir’s bubbling bass line before swinging out into a sparkling, almost Latin coda.
The second piece unfolds gently, Le Blanc rustling among the cymbals, the pianists rippling in dark colours before rolling purposefully on to a brighter melody, driven ahead by the bass.
A simple, repeated four-note motif threads the last piece, backlighting a stark and poignant top line. Such is the empathy between MacGregor and Yeoh that it is hard to know who is playing what throughout. But it’s clear that Yeoh leads a tight, bright gem of a small group and this CD is a tantalising glimpse of what’s yet to come out of the studio. Garry Booth