(Another Timbre)

Unbelievable how many albums are being released these days whose content is differently appreciable according to the context and the technical setting in which they’re enjoyed. During my first time with this collection of duets for ney (Saade) and shakuhachi (Bell) I found myself in the condition of catching the single voice’s essence, mentally absorbing any droplet, any barely audible harmonic, all the complex relationships existing between the wood and a pneumatically enhanced system of liquids during the circumstantial occasions in which those elements are put in direct confrontation. A wonderful experience, rendered memorable by a detail-splitting recording quality that lets the audience feel like the very embouchure of those exotic whistling tubes. The notes just flow through our substance, into the core of self-examination. I tried a second listen at low volume, and was astonished to discover that the spirit of the music was still there, certain aspects of its ritualistic charm even boosted by the connection that my ears and brain had already established during the first session. Naturally, it helps that Bell and Saade are masters of the game, their intertwining sensitiveness and intelligent choice of spaces, reticence and wavering vibrations – or the mix of all these ingredients – demonstrating what “inner ear” really means. Music that spread-eagles between the silence of your reflections, arriving at the right moment to save us from idiot television programs and useless chit-chat to establish a poetic logic of no-nonsense and gratification of the remote depths of the soul. A great, great record, confirming Another Timbre as currently the best English label devoted to improvisation, on a par with Emanem.

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