Sophie Tassignon – Voice, Compositions
Peter Van Huffel – Saxophones & Clarinet, Compositions
Julie Sassoon – Piano
Meinrad Kneer – Bass
Act One – Wismart Records, 2014
Not static in time or place, the music of House of Mirrors evokes a medieval maze twisting through a myriad of tones and timbres, multiplied, fragmented, and re-sequenced like some devil’s DNA. Peter Van Huffel and Sophie Tassignon’s creations move through the nexus of centuries-old traditions and spur-of-the-moment impulse. Their music is about the world around us and the world within – refracted and reflected. Outside, the leaves in “Blätter” flutter and point – as if warning of a predator’s stealthy arrival – presaging a stillness that is both peaceful and breathtaking. Within, there’s jazz, there’s the 20th century chamber music of Schoenberg and Webern, and the contrapuntal free improv of Bailey, Parker, and von Schlippenbach. The old stones in this garden speak of long-lost Eastern European folk tunes, the Weimar cabaret of Weill and Brecht, and of the tales of a forest canopy and the burrowing creatures beneath.
What’s out front with that saxophone, that clarinet, that endless flow of ideas that is Peter Van Huffel is the unforgettable voice of Sophie Tassignon: a classically pure crystalline voice that belches bile and fire, turns from banshee to ingenue, turns from mother to child, or just turns to tell us fascinating stories in whatever language you might speak. Badass bass and piano stabs like icy stars merge and curl like smoke from a cigarette as melodies unfold, harmonies multiply, rhythms dance in an explosion of jewels and shards. Joining Tassignon and Van Huffel are bassist Miles Perkin and pianist Julie Sassoon – both more than virtuosi, both with ideas, hands, and ears beautifully attuned to the roaring furnace that illuminates this House of Mirrors.
House of Mirrors reshapes and reconfigures time, geography, music itself. Within the House of Mirrors moves the sound of iron discipline, selfless sharing, unbridled intelligence, and the playful spirit of children. Never afraid of silence, their instincts, their choices, cannot be taught. Therein lies the beauty. These compositions dissolve, rotate, and evaporate like dew, like a desert stream, like the clouds. This is music that will turn with you – or turn on you – making something very palpable and all too real out of nothing just as easily as it collapses from a complete architecture into dusty nothingness.
– Dave Wayne (Santa Fe, NM, USA)