So, a female duo of viola and bassoon. Nice, huh? If you were thinking of giving Natura Naturans to a chamber music-loving relative as a present for the upcoming Christmas festivities, hold your horses. Amy Cimini and Katherine Young (the names are inexplicably – or willingly – missing on the digipak cover) handle their instruments with a couple of addendums that many male counterparts sorely miss. They’re called “balls” and “grit”. Indeed the eight tracks – splendidly recorded by Sam Pluta and Jeff Snyder, who managed to imprison microscopic physical details inside an overall feel of aural shellacking and occasional artificial tranquillity – exude a certain degree of “positive hostility”, substantiated by manifest improvisational bravura (of the ruthless variety). Depending on the spur of the moment: close intervallic buzzing, pipe-like droning, rusty fencing of inhospitable harmonic territories, fake sweetness with gentle plucking and pseudo-melodic hints, breaking of otherwise sacrosanct contrapuntal laws. One almost sees the contorting faces and the snorts, the air entirely filled with sounds that grind the skull in a vice – or, at the very least, punch. The girls are capable of enticing a silver-lining kind of listener into plateaus of ambivalent mildness; after a while, the same person is left with ripped clothes and all bruised. I’d love to go around clubs with these two: they would swat chips off several shoulders and wait for a reaction without flinching.

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