The first recorded meeting of Vigroux and Friedl was released in 2014 on Alamuse; eternal damnation awaits this reviewer, to this day unable to retrieve that CD amidst the endlessly growing promo towers adorning the house. But fear not, dear readers: the second chapter of this collaboration is here to reaffirm that cultivated improvisation is not thriving on mere chance, but on probability (verging on “certainty”). By avoiding the detours of exploratory tentativeness, improvisers with a definite mental design exercise their art with almost cocky sureness, thus entering the realm of vibrational significance directly and without too much of a smile. That’s what happens in this great album.
Tobel II may sound rather nonfigurative in terms of harmony (unless you manage to place it inside a more “cosmic” harmonic typology), but is extremely robust in regard to the dynamic aspects of the interplay. The noble underworld depicted by these gentlemen discloses its energies quite explicitly. It melts the radiating qualities of Vigroux’s dissonant electronics and Friedl’s expertise in handling the piano’s insides into a unique variety of gestural suddenness. Several species of resounding tissue are produced, intensity varying from violently magmatic to “wait-until-the-worst-has-passed” tenebrousness. The textures are mostly sinewy, precisely contoured, exalting the most tangible relationships between the upper partials. Droning and/or throbbing matters are interspersed with incisive chords, or short combinations of single pitches; majestic repercussions inhabit the borders of timbral (dis)integration. In the overall scheme of things, bowed acridness and diaphanous resonance weigh exactly the same. The consequence? A classic case of auditor beatus.
Indeed I could not locate a lone instant of indifference across the whole set. Artists eliciting immediate interest deprived of gratuitous eccentricity make daily bullshit easier to endure. In that sense, this duo will give you a serious kick in the pants, at once scientifically melting the residual earwax.