Ephemera Quartet




Ephemera, always outward-reaching conceptually, has now expanded in size from a trio to a quartet with the addition of violist Carl St Jacques, and the sonic options have grown exponentially. As on the band’s first album, composer Keyna Wilkins takes her inspiration from the wonders and enigmas of the astronomical universe, and, perhaps unremarkably, the end result is music of peculiar depth and mystery that somehow evades the laws of gravity.

Her own piano and flutes are joined by Elsen Price’s double bass (sometimes with looping) and trumpeter Will Gilbert, along with St Jacques’ viola and recordings from NASA of both space missions and deep space sounds. Apollo Mission, for instance, uses audio from the first Moon landing, which could easily been a gauche option, but  Wilkins not only evades that trap, she restores the sense of wonder and enormity we felt at the time the landing happened. The quartet can achieve a surprisingly orchestral sweep, whether playing improvised or fully notated music, partly because of Wilkins’ instrument-swapping and partly because an abundance of solo sections (notably Price on Mercury Vista) and duets amplifies the impact of the trios and quartets.