JOЁLLE LÉANDRE & INDIA COOKE – Journey

No Business

Forgive this spurt of anti-democracy, but… wouldn’t it be possible to pass an international law that prohibits the attending of concerts to people with cold or affected by chronic coughing, either pneumonic or just nervous? Starting from the very first seconds, there are several instances in Journey – an otherwise glorious album by the violin/double bass duo of Cooke and Léandre – in which someone in the audience chooses, with surgical precision, the most tense and/or rarefied spots to sonorously showcase the content of their bronchial tubes, systematically collapsing the supernatural pressure of the moment.

This aside – and heaven knows how I hate putting great music second after behavioural deficits in a list – this performance from 2008 confirms what the ladies had already shown four years prior with Firedance on Red Toucan. In essence, the ability of keeping the flame of instant creativity burning brightly for a long time. They do it through freakish deviations and fulminating twists and turns enhanced by balanced dosages of perspicuous lunacy and liberal sensitivity. The interaction ranges from near-silence – crackles and taps in evidence, together with sighs, susurrations and “yeahs” of encouragement emitted by the players – to literally inflammatory attacks to the instruments. This album has much to teach to the disadvantaged scrapers who pretend to define themselves “musicians”: ardour, intelligence, scorching reflexes and sheer beauty of timbre are inbuilt gifts that cannot be acquired by looking intensely at a point while remaining still. If “playing with passion” does indeed mean something, there are many chances here to understand what that is. Unless you swallowed a couple of Aspirins before entering the concert site, of course.

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