A duo recording from Charbin on piano and Van Isacker on alto sax, beginning sparsely, with soft chordal piano clusters and single breathy tones from the sax. A minute or so in, Charbin dashes off a quick flurry of notes, a rash decision or a display of possibility I know not. Then we are firmly in timbral exploration, beautifully recorded piano notes hanging in the air, occasionally interspersed with upper register reed sounds. Long stretches of near silence. Some sort of quiet rubbing or maybe it's knocking, slowly gaining in volume, overlaid with feedbacky filigree. More emptiness. There might be a correlation here between these sounds and the image on the cover of the disc: a beautiful black and white photo of widely spaced pilings or eroded pillars in a body of water. There are some pedaling sounds and muffled bumps, exuding someone-in-the-next-room-doing-something thoughts, then a series of uncanny sliding tones before a fade back to the quiet.
A quick check of the CD player's readout shows that I've missed the transition from the first piece to the second. No matter, as it all works well as one long improvisation. The second piece (all are unnamed), is even more sparse and quiet, with perhaps a bit of mental tension as I wait for the next sound. Some string scrape from inside the piano, another high pitch from the horn, some sort of percussive softness. It's often hard to tell, without knowing beforehand, that what we are listening to are two very ordinary western instruments. No mention is made in the liner notes about electronics, and I'm assuming that there aren't any, and yet...
The fourth piece offers up some quick interactions, again very quiet, peppered with short silences before a lovely semi-repeating motif from prepared sounding piano pulls an equally beguiling, spinning exploration from the sax. Then lots of really low end haze blows in while the quick but quiet returns over the top, and continues for a while before slipping out on a few more slimy sax slides.
There is a lot of interaction between the sounds, albeit mostly on a very subtle level. It does sometimes "cook", but never threatens to boil over.
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