As improvisers dedicated to the conscious evisceration of tone, Sophie Agnel and Daunik Lazro know how to accentuate the subtleties of an acoustic communion. The reciprocal focus in this set – recorded in Moscow about a year ago – reveals a series of details and links on both the micro and macro levels of a sax/prepared piano interaction. This, in turn, denotes an almost moral choice between what is actually rendered unequivocal and what is better left untold. In an “all aerials up” condition, sometimes the involuntary judgment error that ruins a magic atmosphere can suddenly occur. Not in this place, though.

The close-to-statuesque perfection of certain passages makes one distinguish the fibrous tissue of a two-part counterpoint; from within the performers/listener triangle each movement appears as the sum of accurate intuitions rather than suggested by the will to satisfy the audience. Through copious doses of pragmatism inside the realms of idealist dissonance, the textural aggregation remains comprehensible in its alert collectedness. Agnel and Lazro implicitly refer to rules that may be broken or not; their individual voices adapt to the music’s twists and turns as well as conforming to (tense) stasis whenever needed.

It is difficult to tell instinct from rationality while listening to some of the tracks, but the resulting sonorities are never less than intriguing or even mysterious. Still, the pair is not running after ghosts of inspiration; they just seem to wait for the ad hoc trace to materialize on the spot, and react accordingly. Ultimately, the asymmetrical fantasies of Marguerite D’Or Pâle divulge several teachings. The most important reads: no matter the context or the involved names, the deepest improvisations require lucidity. There’s plenty of it in here, secretly attached to a not exactly evident utopianism.

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