Lost River is an evocative and richly-textured sonic event, and one of the outstanding beyond-category recordings of recent ECM history. Drummer Michele Rabbia and guitarist Eivind Aarset had played many duo concerts, and Rabbia had also worked with trombonist Gianluca Petrella in other contexts, but this recording marks a premiere for the trio, brought together at the suggestion of producer Manfred Eicher.
Spontaneously improvised for the most part, and with mysterious detail flowering inside its soundscapes, Lost River keeps revealing new forms. Rabbia’s drumming is freely creative and propulsive, and enhanced through his use of electronics. Aarset’s flowing playing will intrigue listeners who have enjoyed his Dream Logic project and his contribution to recordings with Tigran Hamasyan, Andy Sheppard, Jon Hassell and Nils Petter Molv?r (if Lost Rivers belongs to a tributary or subset of ECM recordings, it is one that includes Khmer). And Petrella’s role as a central instrumental voice here may surprise those who know him only as a great “jazz” soloist with Enrico Rava and Giovanni Guidi; his broad range is well-deployed in Eicher’s widescreen production in this recording, made in Udine in January 2018. All three players – Rabbia, Petrella and Aarset - share an interest in electronic music as a means for conveying or enhancing emotional expression and for shaping the environments and atmospheres in which instrumental interaction, melodic development and the colouring of sound can take place.
Born in Bari in the South of Italy in 1975, Gianluca Petrella took up the trombone at the age of 10, following in the footsteps of his father, also a trombonist. The younger Petrella immersed himself in the history of jazz, exploring its mutating styles while also keeping an ear open to the sounds of the city. Recognized now as one of the important figures in the new Italian jazz, he is also interested in contemporary composition, R & B and the roots of hip hop, film music and more. He has performed with Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer, leads several bands of his own, and has created soundtracks for movies. A co-leader on the ECM album Ida Lupino (recorded 2015), with Giovanni Guidi, Louis Sclavis and Gerald Cleaver, Petrella can also be heard on four records for the label with Enrico Rava - Easy Living (2003), The Words and the Days (2005), Tribe (2019), and Wild Dance (2015) - and as a member of the Orchestre National de Jazz under the direction of Paolo Damiani on Charmediterranéan (2001).
Michele Rabbia was born in Turin in 1965, and studied drums firstly with Enrico Lucchini in Italy and subsequently in the US with Joe Hunt and Alan Dawson. He has worked with a huge cast of musicians, with collaborators including Marilyn Crispell, Vincent Courtois, Roscoe Mitchell, Andy Sheppard and Dominique Pifarély. Rabbia has previously appeared on ECM recordings with Stefano Battaglia including Raccolto (recorded 2003), Re: Pasolini (2005), and Pastorale (2009). With Maria Pia De Vito, François Couturier and Anja Lechner, he is a founder member of the group Il Pergolese, whose eponymous debut album (2012) draws freely upon compositions of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.
Eivind Aarset, born in Kolbotn, Norway in 1961, started playing guitar at the age of 12, inspired initially by Jimi Hendrix. Other early influences included fellow Norwegian Terje Rypdal and Pete Cosey with Miles Davis’s Agharta group. Aarset has helped to shape a new role for the electric guitar in creative music, working in an almost painterly way with texture and colour and atmosphere. Eivind’s ECM album Dream Logic was recorded in 2011 and 2012. It was followed by Atmosphères (2014) with an improvising quartet with Tigran Hamasyan, Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang. Other ECM recordings with Eivind include Nils Petter Molv?r’s influential Khmer (1996-97) and Solid Ether (1999) , Small Labyrinths (1994) with Marilyn Mazur’s Future Song, Arild Andersen’s Electra (2002-03), Arve Heriksen’s Cartography (2005-06), John Hassell’s Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street (2008), Ketil Bjørnstad’s La Notte (2010), Food’s Mercurial Balm (2010-11), Michel Benita’s River Silver (2015), and three albums with Andy Sheppard: Movements In Colour (2008), Surrounded by Sea (2014) and Romaria (2017).