STEPHEN FLINN / NOAH PHILLIPS DUO – Square Circle

(Pax Recordings)

Slipping this series of atypical improvisations into the envelope of a cathegory is not an easy task. What on paper reads as a guitar/drums duo is actually a mousetrap game of unpredictable sonorities taking their shape from basic elements – Phillips’ chordal tapping or Flinn’s lumpy snare rolls, just to name a couple – then planting uncertain roots in the quicksands of electronic modification (by Tim Perkis, who joins the duo in several tracks). The musicians deliver the “right” energetic mass from the rust of excessive prankishness, like scientists winking to each other after reaching an interesting result; the strange atmosphere generated by some of these conversations belies the accurate pondering that an expert ear will surely perceive in the large part of “Square circle”. Abstract propulsion and bulldozing methodology are parts of a complex vocabulary of adventurous sapience and inquisitive sonic exploration championed by Flinn and Phillips with scrupulous application.

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