Recorded in 2000 at Chicago’s Empty Bottle Festival, not only this CDR constitutes an oddity for O’Rourke zealots but it is also a very appealing chapter of remarkably fresh-sounding instantaneous interaction – ten years ago, remember. That said, it’s a shame that F-O’R can’t be brought to a wider attention, or at least beyond the extremely limited number of copies typical of each Conundrom release, as it surely contains some of the best improvised substance heard from both artists.

Fuhler is active on piano, EMS Putney, crackle box and keyolin. O’Rourke plays instead organ, EMS Synthi A, computer and effects. The first part of the set sees the couple in “nonfigurative exploration” mode, never cramped within a scheme or limited by a definite consecutiveness of events. Acoustic shades and noise, mixed with expertise and sense of humour; the insides of the piano and the dirtiest kind of processing seem to work wonders throughout. The central section is frequently informed by the keyolin’s personality, the music occasionally resembling a blend of East-Asian reminiscence and unconstitutional disruption of genres (got to dig those splintered drum’n’bass patterns appearing along dissonant whirlwinds of strings).

After more un-muzzled sputtering turpitude the whole calms down consistently, as a (computerized? eBowed?) long-string Prana start warming the ears amidst additional subdued tampering, the scene instantly becoming one of unclouded concentration underlined by the usual array of tiny interferences. The bizarre resonances elicited by the duo through looped arpeggios and suggestive synthetic oscillations – about 14 minutes into the second track – demarcate my favourite moment of the disc. Whimsicality is the keyword, though, and following a few spurts of plain-spoken chordal fragments surrounded by strange bleeping codes and unremorseful organ ejections, the record ends with poignant particles typified by the appearance of basic essences that would end characterizing O’Rourke’s I’m Happy, And I’m Singing, And A 1,2,3,4. Still, threatening roars keep lurking in the background until conclusion.

(Conundrom, via ErstDist)

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