Jim Denley: acoustic alto sax, preparations; Cor Fuhler: acoustic piano, preparations

Inaugural release by a duo that has been existing – on and off – since the early nineties, and is now finally reunited in Denley’s homeland (Australia). 37 minutes of relatively outspoken improvisations, occasionally interrupted by quiet stretches but mostly exploiting the resonant properties of the instruments through thicker layers and dense fumes.

It is an interesting pairing, blending Fuhler’s partiality for a swathed celestial harmony – principally coming from the piano’s insides – and Denley’s understanding of the sweetly acrid vividness of a reed’s upper partials and shifting hollows. The music sounds, for its large part, considerate and intelligent. Never the players overstay their welcome in a given area, putting forward tones and sketches in forthright fashion but still leaving the right amount of space for the listener to evaluate what the brain has just captured. Selected shades extracted by Fuhler are extremely attractive, in particular when the strings resonate as if they were recorded underwater (an example being around the eleventh minute of the first track). When the timbral research generates the largest quantity of contrast and clangor, things become intriguing on the vibrational side of life.

It is rather evident that these musicians are mutually regardful. They can breath delicately and, a moment later, rumble in dynamic simultaneousness, always choosing the exact instant for the pedal to be lifted from the metal but never really pulling the handbrake. The concatenation of events occurring in this album gives an idea of (animated) rationality; and yet, a couple of crescendos are as distant from imperturbability as someone who is about to explode for a headache.

I am not sure that a random auditor will want to genuinely test the deep waters with this one after a first attempt. Perhaps the “gamelan-like” snippets and certain muffled harmonics could cause some enlightened critic to retrieve the classic “Harry Partch” quote from the drawer. However, my own positiveness for Truancy is a fact: deceivingly intelligible, it hides small doses of venom – of the sort that we at Touching Extremes love to savor.

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