(Emanem)

Milo Fine epitomizes the figure of a multi-instrumentalist improviser; this double CD sees him in company of illustrious fellow spirits during his 2003 London visit. “April radical” mingles various strings, electronics and voice with clarinet, piano and drums in an imaginative piece crossing chamber settings and piquant segmentation, with three double bass players (Tony Wren, Marcio Mattos, Simon H.Fell) in beautiful growling balance. Three clarinet (plus drums) duets with Alex Ward seem to file the cutting edge of a tetanic flick knife carving mouthpieces to deviate the regular blowing, until “Skinny frog” (with Gail Brand and Paul Shearsmith) brings back a measure of tranquillity – not without some flickering flame of ironic ludicrousness. The whole second disc is made of “May radicals”, a five-part sextet (including Hugh Davies on “invented instruments” and Charlotte Hug on viola) where the coordinates vary according to the spur of the moment: now a next-to-silence exploration of hollow timbral interiors, then a couple of piano reflections amidst a remarkably self-regulating group autonomy; all of which brings the musicians to a series of fair-minded exchanges of scrutinizing looks to each other. Philipp Wachsmann, Angharad Davies, Matt Hutchinson and Marj McDaid also appear in various parts of this excellent release.