“Back, Before” is the the fourth release from Great Waitress (Magda Mayas, Monica Brooks & Laura Altman), recorded before the pandemic and lockdowns in 2018. A live set was beautifully recorded by Peter Farrar at the Annandale Creative Arts Centre in Sydney and mixed and mastered by Joe Talia.
In the elegant liner notes, Chris Abrahams writes of Great Waitress transcending “contributions of Mayas, Altman and Brooks. It’s an identity made from a multi-dimensional gestalt.”He finishes with:“External sound phenomena are subsumed by a music that welcomes any…the individual counterpoint – timbral, rhythmic, harmonic, melodic, emotional… – that results in an ever-evolving wayward noise, clothing it instantly in its mystery and beauty.”
Great Waitress unfold soundscapes, and beyond their horizons there is nothing to be heard but other soundscapes, and still other horizons. But if we take our listening the other way — forensically attending to the minutiae — there is nothing inside the sounds but other smaller sounds. They do this inward/outward listening within each of their four amazing releases and they also do it across these releases. This listening is achieved because we never arrive at cliché, genre, or the entirely known or predictable — Great Waitress keep you suspended on a cusp between knowability and novelty. They have unfolded a body of work, of which “Back, Before” is the latest stunning example, that speaks of a brilliant, patient, humble collectivity — one of the most important improvising ensembles of the last decade.
CD comes housed in a full-colour full panel digipak with liner notes from Chris Abrahams.