Here is another beautiful international collaboration from Another Timbre. Neither German sine wave artist Klaus Filip nor Argentinian trumpeter Leonel Kaplan is new to the improvised music scene, and to pigeonhole their contributions in that way would be an injustice akin to ignoring the fruits of their long and varied labors. In the album's accompanying interview Kaplan states that the music took a year to refine, so complex is Filip's contribution. Truer word was never spoken, the same holds for his own work, and the album is a study in synergy, complexity and subtlety.
"Oh, the recycling truck is here early," I thought as I listened to the first of these two lengthy manipulated improvisations, and indeed, the low-pitched pulse seemed to come from somewhere outside. Only after a full minute did I hear the tone rise and solidify into something approaching a recognizable timbre. Filip is a master of timing, interval, color, articulation and the interstices contextualizing and defining them. Pitches may be pure or house internal repetitions, vibrating in polyrhythmic complexity with others as Filip stacks and staggers them. A kind of Klangfarbenmelodie is his playing as harmonies ebb and flow or as post-Lucierian beats emerge and fade across the pitch spectrum, sometimes achieving nearly blinding luminosity.
Kaplan's forays into pitch are rare, at least in the conventional sense. As with Radu Malfatti, whose memorable collaboration with Filip this disc brings to mind, Kaplan is a master of breath and of its myriad shades, sinews and implications, from the simplest preparatory inhale to the longest liquefied time-stopping utterance that the word "sigh" would denigrate. His trumpet seems to change in size as the air enters and leaves it, every nook and cranny becoming a chamber to explore for novel resonances. Depth and weight are in constant flux as sibilance changes in intensity, encompassing the most transparent highs and guttural lows, fragmenting, rustling, metallicizing, morphing from rock to lava in seconds and back again. All of this archetypal exploration makes each appearance of pitch even more precious, like those Miles Davis runs we'd anticipate as they became less frequent during his electric period.
As with so many releases on this excellent label, the miracle is in the merging, the meshing and melding of such individual syntax into a unified whole. Yes, there are moments of the back-and-forth expected from two very different sound worlds in friendly confrontation, but just as often, it's about symmetry and union. Listen to the opening notes of the second track; it's just a staggered half step, to tones slowly hanging as they unfold, but what a sound! It sums up the album in microcosm, exemplifying the various levels of interplay and reaction that pervade this Protean but surprisingly static and immensely satisfying music.
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