NORBERT RODENKIRCHEN / ROBBIE LEE / JAMES ILGENFRITZ – Opalescence

Telegraph Harp

A different title came to mind during an all-aerials-up session with this outing, namely “opulence”. There are times when a restricted acoustic palette coincides with a textural deficiency; certainly not the case here. To put it clearly, this music has more to do with concepts such as “mastery of emission”, “dynamic stability” and “sheer virtuosity” than anything else.

Utilizing an array of differently tuned flutes (Rodenkirchen and Lee) and a double bass (Ilgenfritz) played through a variety of practical approaches in rigorous “natural reverberation” settings, these tracks denote both the focused skills of the performers and the absence of identifiable stylistic coordinates. Swift ideas and volatile sketches – either luxuriously dissonant or nearly cantabile – prevail upon any hypothesis of synthesis and/or predetermined structure. While braving an abundance of complex expressive frames, the eager listener will absorb a growing amount of details from aural constructions whose articulacy is unassailable.

Accordingly, what’s really needed to stay with this album is technical expertise, preferably based on a serious instrumental practice. Translation: timbral subtleties and implicit movements will be better understood by trained audiences. On the other side of the ocean of disquisition, someone might suddenly realize that a bit of reductionist idleness is more suitable to their easily fatigued ears, thus electing to abruptly truncate the experience. Most newcomers will find Opalescence hard to ingest on a first attempt; I’m willing to bet that a second will never be made by those people.

Me? Pleasures can be detected even within the lines of age of erstwhile elation; the doctor prescribes persistence. As always, one would say.

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