Edinburgh trio’s debut mixes Balkan folk, cabaret and free jazz
SiNK are a group I first came across at the Pipe Factory, an 1887 red-brick building that is one of Glasgow's overlooked architectural gems. Now an artists' studio, the Gallowgate building played host to a fine evening of music headlined by the Edinburgh trio. Performing in the gallery space, with candles and angle-poise lamps to illuminate them, SiNK created a beautifully intimate atmosphere, their warm and playful music warding off the autumnal chill seeping through the brickwork.
Formed in Edinburgh five years ago, the trio of Daniil Dumnov on accordion, Tim Vincent-Smith on violin and Matt Wright on saxophones have developed a near telepathic interplay, allowing them to build on pre-composed elements though collective improvisation. Their sound absorbs disparate influences, from Balkan folk and Parisian cabaret to classical minimalism and free jazz. There are certain sonic affinities with Penguin Café Orchestra, as well contemporary composers like Max Richter and Yann Tiersen, but SiNK have a spontaneity and rough-hewn edge of their own.
Given their music's cinematic qualities, it comes as no surprise to learn that SiNK have performed live scores for silent movies. 'Parisian Metro' conjures images of Left Bank bohemians taking deep, approving draws of their Gauloise cigarettes while Stephane Grappelli plays his Hot Club fiddle. The Hawk & A Hacksaw-esque 'DownTheStairsAndThroughTheHole', meanwhile, wouldn't sound out of place in one of Emir Kusturica's Serbian capers.
As its title implies, 'Jazzing' is the closest SiNK get to free-improv, with Wright clearly relishing the opportunity to squabble skronkily with his comrades. His full-bodied soprano squawks are well matched by sea-sick accordion tones and swaying violin. It's great fun, but I wouldn't mind a little more of this wilder approach integrated into the other tunes. Nonetheless, this is an impressive debut from a hugely talented trio. Dive in.