STEFANO PASTOR / ARI POUTIAINEN – North South Dial

Slam

Involuntarily bastardizing the breed of purported virtuosos who display tendon-straining exercises to peacock in front of an audience, violinists Pastor and Poutiainen recorded a one-off session lasting approximately four hours on October 8, 2008 in Genoa – their first summit – from which this 40-minute CD was distilled. The musicians had prepared advance drafts to channel the bowed energies through, so don’t be surprised in finding out that the results of this gathering of akin minds sound very much like structured improvisation. Both tending to a high degree of tone hoarseness (the Italian notoriously utilizes electric guitar strings for his instrument) they found several meeting points, including those where close intervals and extensively dragged pitches exalt the textural grain, giving birth to long arcs of serious dissonance informed by a minimalistic hillbilly-ness in some of the components. Pastor expands the palette via a synthesizer operated with a pedal, thus adding a smidgen of intangibility to certain sections (“Floating Under The Icecap” and especially “Mineraloids From Nowhere” being excellent examples). It’s not just about stretched notes and puzzling resonances, though: the pair knows how to draw lines more consistently linked with intoxicatingly convoluted materials (check “Breathing Vault” and the conclusive “Chasing The Atmophile Elements”). Still, they manage to avoid any unnecessary swelling by leaving the rough qualities of the sounds emerge and dominate the environment with confidence and musicality to spare.

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