KAY GRANT & ALEX WARD – Fast Talk

Emanem

Kay Grant: voice, electronics; Alex Ward: clarinet

Ten live duets, recorded between 2008 and 2011, two of them with a small amount of processing on Kay Grant’s phonation (she is not one who pushes on effects, preferring the exploitation of her varicolored “regular” delivery). It’s a prototypical case of good enough album that I find hard to call “extraordinary”, to be honest. Granted (pun intended) the unquestionable technical/intuitive level and the reciprocal attractive force of the associates, who evidently find themselves with eyes closed, different attempts produced the recurring image of a set that starts whistling and popping but, somehow, tends to locomote with less effervescence as the minutes elapse. A private perception, of course, fundamentally springing from my certified quasi-repulsion towards conventional jazz vocalism. Not that there is any here, however a noticeable degree of bop-ish influences is detected in certain manners of letting the notes stream inside Grant’s transitory designs, which sometimes diminishes the singularity rate of what she does. I favor the spots where she delivers her ironic instincts from the authority of memory, even when the risk is that of a female adaptation of Phil Minton’s infinite masks (“And Another Thing” comes to mind). Ward’s capabilities are well known, his flawless control of the emission at the basis of double-quick inventions, from castles of ramshackle pitches to inebriated counter-melody with almost classical accents. Enjoying the artists’ essential union is probably the ultimate key: accordingly, Fast Talk works relatively fine as a whole, in spite of a few slightly tired segments. And, just maybe, there are times in which an analyst should learn to mentally integrate the entire picture without remaining overly inflexible on “individual taste” issues.

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