There are people on this planet that, though they walk with one foot in front of the other just like the rest of us, are in important respects nothing like the rest of us—they are gifts.
In early 2018, I was fortunate to finally see my favorite percussionist in concert at the Sanders Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Zakir Hussain is a master, in the same easily recognizable way that Hendrix and Ella are masters. What they all do with their instruments is far beyond the technical. In their hands and breath, their instruments become the conduits of artistic expression. They are seamless and fluid parts of that artist’s language. Essential elements irremovable from the message.
But Zakir is more than a master of his chosen instrument. He is also one of the rare people whom I’ve had the great fortune to encounter who truly lights up a room. Before striking even a single note on his tabla’s membranes, Hussain radiates a genuine joyfulness. When he smiles, then places his hands gently together and bows to give his respect and thanks to the audience, you receive that gesture personally. When he interacts with the other musicians, you can see, hear, and feel his desire to have them be the best they can be—to let them be seen. Zakir has a gift that he gives without needing to have his name splashed all over it. A humble, joyful, giving master of his instrument. Rare.
Can you imagine if the music systems we assemble had the ability to communicate even 1/100th of the light that someone like Zakir Hussain radiates when he performs? Could you recognize if they did? Could you trust your instincts enough to let that light in?
Ignorance Is Bliss
When I received and first set up the Triangle Australe EZ loudspeakers, I had no idea where they sat in the Triangle line, nor did I know their cost. Based on their fit-and-finish and what TAS sends me for review, I assumed they were roughly in the $7k–$10k range. My only preconceptions about Triangle, gathered from brief auditions at shows over the years, was that they made speakers that were engaging in a “light and lively” kind of way. And then I made a random choice to open with trumpeter Dave Douglas’ “Bardot” from his album Live in Europe [1997, Arabesque AJ0126]. Eyes and ears open. You know the feeling you get early in the spring when you step outside and take a first breath of fresh air? It’s refreshingly different than inside air. Free and open. Makes you kind of happy. That’s what these Triangles did. A live projected trumpet in the open air. Wasn’t expecting that. How much are these?
Triangle Australe EZ
Turns out they’re $4500 per pair. I literally had to double-check.
The Australe EZ is the largest loudspeaker in the Esprit EZ range of Triangle loudspeakers, which is the middle line, wedged between the Plaisir and Elara below it, and the Signature and top-dog Magellan above it. At about 85 pounds each and 46" tall, they are substantial. However, I found the rather simple design to be quite attractively modern and clean—almost elegant—in the gloss-white finish that mine came with. The included glass stands with adjustable spikes add to the overall look, and they incorporate perforated rubber plates said to absorb and disperse cabinet vibrations.