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The free jazz collective

The three improvisations on this album are duets between Jennifer Allum on violin and Ute Kanngiesser on cello, and were recorded in a church bell tower, each in a different room. This is as avant-garde as it can be, with both instruments exploring well beyond the boundaries of their instruments, with the bells chiming in, and inspiring the musicians, as do other ambient sounds such as outside traffic, the siren of an ambulance or the ticking of the church clock mechanism (I think).

The music on the first track has a nice and sometimes even powerful interaction of high almost whistling tones interwining like a slow rhythmless dance, a cautious circling around a tonal center, with vibrating notes floating in mid-air, then gradually losing even the faint substance they had to become even more ethereal and ephemeral, slight wisps of music supported by silence. The second track, "Clock Room", has more gravitas, with a more forceful attack of the bows, even if that is still fragile. The pièce-de-résistance is the half hour long "Bell Room", in which the outside world quietly invades the music, and is integrated, carefully lifted into a new level of fragility and refinement. Each note has value here, and when silence takes the foreground, with the distant ambulance the only sound to be heard, deep tones from the cello and super-high tones from the violin create a mirrored drone-like repetition, full of menace and anxiety.

Many people will wonder about this music, and probably that's good. It has its own voice, its own story, its own aesthetic. It may take some time to get into it, but as usual the effort is worth taking.

The free jazz collective 4.09.14 (http://www.freejazzblog.org/2014/09/cello-viola-some-violin.html)