Fulguratio is the authentication of Charlotte Hug and Lucas Niggli’s gestural vehemence – which is not for the faint-hearted – but also of their instrumental acuity. Recorded live at Warsaw’s Ad Libitum festival in 2016, the set reveals artists entirely delivered from the improvisational truisms frequently experienced during analogous acts. There was a time when improvisation translated as “you’ll never guess what will happen”, but that feeling has become a rarer occurrence in recent years. Most people attending events are interested in seeing the names and hearing the expected, rather than hoping to carve something in the memory for decades to come. However, when those “names” are capable of developing forms of intercommunication that push the music’s spiritual essence and psychological momentum forward, that’s definitely more important than a glossy picture on the next fiesta’s poster.
Thus, don’t be stupefied by the fire coming from Hug’s strings and Niggli’s percussives. Try and get inside Hug’s extracorporeal vocalizations, occasionally suggesting a contact with some wicked entity (“Rumbrum Spiritus”). The couple performs on the thin wire that prevents a mutinous untaintedness from falling into disastrous discordance; they discard the rational ingredient persistently, finding innumerable ways to splice the respective inmost vibrations into consistent alternatives. Moreover, room is left for savoring the timbral research; besides leading us through sustained harmonic drifting, Hug employs her tools as a refined percussionist would do. Speaking of which, Niggli’s innate musicality as he hits and rubs the skins is out of question, as well as his impressive command on the dynamic complexion.
Ultimately, this is sonic avant-theatre of the highest order. Actors without an ounce of ego, two completely naked souls. How do they manage to retain lucidity while lost in the trance of such fervor is beyond me, but they do. An uncommon case of educated musicians able to disconnect themselves from what they have absorbed until that moment, conscious that the only lesson that counts is the upcoming one. If that coincides with the absence of words, then it’s a major plus.