Friday, May 12, 2017

Peter Brotzmann / Heather Leigh - Sex Tape (Trost, 2017)

The arresting title and Peter Brotzmann's eye-popping artwork are matched by this unique recording of steel guitarist Heather Leigh and Brotzmann using his full battery of instruments including tenor and alto saxophones, tarogato, and b-flat clarinet. This is one continuous forty eight minute performance that was recorded live at the Unlimited festival, in Wels 2016. It is a fascinating recording, with Leigh's instrument light years away from the from its normal usage in country and roots music, because she uses it to develop a unique and otherworldly drone, a quavering sound that can at times seem fragile and haunted, but then can lash out with an unexpected and stinging wrath. Brotzmann sounds deeply inspired in this setting, setting the pace right away with his gruff saxophones blasting away with steely controlled power that is very strong, but never overwhelms his playing partner. But when he moves to the clarinet and especially the exotic tarogato the music takes on a very special feeling with the odd pitches and timbres that these two musicians explore with their respective instruments makes for a very memorable interaction. The music moves organically throughout the performance with the improvisation developing in both duet interactions and solo spots for both musicians. This was a fascinating album, the improvisation that is formed by these two musicians is a testament to the transformative power of music, and the notion that all instruments are compatible with one another provided they are in the right hands. Leigh, the daughter of a coal miner and Brotzmann, who grew up in the midst of the wreckage of post-war Germany seek and find common ground in the act of improvisation, creating a memorable album in the process. Sex Tape -

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