ELLEN BURR / MICHAEL UNRUH – Where Am I From, Where Am I Going

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Ellen Burr: flute, alto flute, piccolo; Michael Unruh: bass clarinet

Highly skilled improvisation financed by modern idioms and perspicuous insinuations. Burr – who occasionally emits vocalizations in between her notes – and Unruh (the latter, we’re told, is also a wheat farmer) are not the sort of light-fingered aspirant saints who trade artistic sinlessness for a place in the sunny spots of fame and glory. Their sound transmits a sense of emergency not deprived of intelligent merriment, and is all the more enjoyable for that. The melodies are often quite complex, replete as they are with exquisitely quirky twists and turns; many of these interlaced lines are likely to make your head spin right round, baby, right round. The eight and the eleventh of fifteen untitled tracks, to quote just two, demonstrate that the pair is even capable of turning an initial state of relative placidity into a progressively nervous hubbub of pitches enclosed within narrow (or less) ranges. Doctor Ricci’s prognosis reads as follows: the cosmetically unanalytic listener becomes uninterested in ten minutes or so; the developed sections of the population rejoice in thinking that a technically advanced form of enfranchisement from corporate avantgarde still kicks both ceremonious academians and non-performing, grant-stealing nobodies in their asses. Burr, a well-qualified teacher in a number of illustrious universities, will hopefully see what I mean. Or perhaps not. It’s still a great listen.

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