Saturday, May 29, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: One Duo, Two Trios

Nels Cline/Elliott Sharp: Duo Milano. 2007. Long Song Records: LSRCD103/2007.

Nels Cline: guitars
Elliott Sharp: guitars

It's a pleasure to hear such compatible performers blend their common instrument together like this. The shared sense of terrain that each brings makes it impossible (and unnecessary) to separate who is doing what in any given sounding texture. Divided into two halves - an all acoustic set and an all electric set. It's remarkable to hear how similar the musical language and aesthetic identity is as these master improvisers traverse between these distinct timbral divides. The addition of sustained tones, amplification and processing is a subtle addition to the consistency of ideas that flows through the life blood of this organic sound.

Matthew Shipp Trio: Circular Temple. 1994. Infinite Zero: 14506-2.

Matthew Shipp: piano
William Parker: bass
Whit Dickey: drums

Music like this makes me love my speakers. The clarity of sound between these three separate forces is a remarkably well-recorded and produced aural image of independence and unity. These three players work with the raw material of free improvisation - big confident slabs of free jazz sounds that cover the canvas with controlled splashes and dribbles. Erupting from time to time with a vicious ferocity that stands out all the more because of the moments of contrasting quiet that pool around the edges. This is a solidly percussive side of Shipp's piano playing and it rolls easily against Parker's bowed utterances as Dickey meets volume with volume in this set. All played with an unwavering alertness of the poetic angles of each given moment.

Mary Halvorson/Reuben Radding/Nate Wooley: Crackleknob. 2009. Hat Hut Records: hatOLOGY 662.

Mary Halvorson: guitar
Reuben Radding: double bass
Nate Wooley: trumpet

The individuals found on this collaboration inspire an enthusiasm for this music long before the first sounds of Crackleknob strike the ear. Individually, each is a fresh voice on their respective instruments and part of a dynamic improvisation scene in Brooklyn. Listening to this music exceeded my already high expectations. Musical ideas are tossed effortlessly between players in a manner that is beyond conversant or even reactive. Many of these ideas extend beyond the immediate rhythms or phrases of the moment as the intuitive sense of form and structure within these "free" environments is striking. This is collective dialogue with sound materials that dances between players in a remarkably even, trio-centric manner. With no sense of urgency (or ego) to fill each moment with more (or less) than what is called for. Recommended.

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