In the microtonal universe, nostalgic retentiveness is prohibited. No “tune” to be memorized, no references to look at when an originative current is inexorably running into the sands of axiomatic sterility. Daniel Levin and Mat Maneri – on cello and viola respectively – have been playing together for several years now. Although they share a number of common traits in their individual development, their combined styles stand as far from the expected as possible. At any instant during an exchange they’re able to imperceptibly shift the balance of a conventional interaction and, from there, proceed towards previously inaccessible meeting points. This is exactly what renders this music arduous to ears whose only desires spell “consonance” and “resolution”.
Indeed this is a tough nut to crack for the untrained. More expert listeners may also struggle to come to grips with its innumerable dissonant characteristics. The smell of colorful brochure typical of certain lavish productions in the context of today’s “free” improvisation is here completely absent. Levin and Maneri seem to bid farewell to easy accessibility as if they were skimming the fat off a heterogeneous audience. They use every portion of their instruments to bring forth atonal counterpoints, recurrent glissando, dynamic instability and a percussiveness that pulverizes whatever trace of “regular pulse” might be wished. Inside The Transcendent Function (2015) one can feel the corpuscles of vibrating strings and resonating woods, detecting infinitesimal conflicts and erratic behaviors in the process. It’s not “harmony” in the sense of what was learned at school, or in some eccentric human agglomeration in search of cosmic retributions. Instead, you are going to get acquainted with the laws of intelligent discord from which earnest creativity and authentic progress get their sustenance.