This release brings together two of the linchpins and reference points of contemporary guitar artistry. Morris, former teacher of his duo partner on this session, has established a style of linear construction in improvised composition that sends out as many webs as a spider on speed, but with a poise in intent and linear logic that is fascinating to observe. Halvorson for her part brings a more textural approach to her lines, although on this session she does not deploy her usual panoply of electronic effects, but sticks to acoustic sonorities. This means that at times, as in the pristine counterpoint of "Brain Draft," this release sounds like two gypsy guitarists in sympathetic improvisational flourishes, one melismatically embellishing the harmonico-rhythmic articulations of the other.
The guitars on this recording are simply captured acoustically at times, at others the electric amplification is fairly pronounced, but mostly the approach is an exploration of the instrument's natural resonance. This aesthetic persists throughout, as the two guitarist's minds percolate a warp and weft of woven lines driven by the imaginations of each in confluence with one the other. At times they resemble Bach-ian well-tempered line writing, as in the middle passage of "Shivering Sunshine," or a kind of Vila Lobos-meets-Paco de Lucia, via Charlie Christian and Tiny Grimes, as in "Traces of Three."
Ballads, if such a term can apply to this brain-powered playing, include some passing moments in several tunes, but dominate in the wistful "Full of Somehow." Although not quite a ballad, the theme statement of "In Other Terms" seems reflective and stately, offering a vigorous meditative vibe which reflects Beethoven in its thick timbres, as the guitarists blend resonant attacks with filigree rhythmic cells.
On the more abstract side there is the extended technique-exploiting principle of "Semaphore" with its snare drum, bell-ringing, Hawaiian slide effects and plain noise elements. The two musicians saw away at the strings, reminding us that the "stone is stony," as a poetic theorist once defined the purpose of art; six strings on a wooden frame is essentially what Morris and Halverson are working with here. Now, what can be done with it is limited only by the physical dexterity and fertility of imagination of the players involved... and there is plenty of both in this release.
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