We are regrettably trained to the risks introduced by musical collaborations involving exponents of transcontinental cultures. In the name of political correctness, one’s often subjected to huge quantities of sonic clichés, blunt rhetoric, synthetic brotherhood typically summing up as “lousy album”. But if an artist of acute sensibility such as René Lussier invites us to enjoy the fruits of his meeting with a târ player, your reviewer shuts up while promptly putting himself in scrutinizing mode towards the resulting material. Enter the Iranian Reza Yazdanpanah: an expert handler of the aforementioned Persian lute, plus an inquisitive researcher in related fields (as gathered by taking a look at this essay).

The ten improvisations – born from open-minded sessions in Lussier’s home studio – reflect both a silent intensity and an authentic desire to listen to the interlocutor rather than egotistically expose one’s self. This, indeed, should be the spirit animating any conversation, be it instrumental or verbal. The quiet privateness informing the bulk of the correspondence leaves ample room for glorious resonances projected by the acoustic chambers. The aural environments are replete with scintillating partials, mildly dissonant chiming and – sometimes – a peculiarly vibrating mysteriousness. We also welcome sporadic appearances by the legendary daxophone and, when a song requires it, Yazdanpanah’s voice embracing microtonality as the very strings of his instrument frequently do.

This record reveals a more meditative (so to speak) side of Lussier’s approach to improvisation, in spite of the trademark propensity to the use of “intelligent” noise in a functional relationship with the other components of a textural wholeness. As for Yazdanpanah, his methods for immersing into sound clearly represent a mere facet of a wider perspective on human interrelationship. In this circumstance, witnessing a heartfelt exchange means delving into crucial issues of personal communication. Rarely you will hear a lesson of humbleness and sobriety comparable to the contents of Reza & Moi.

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