Saturday, September 29, 2018

Mette Rasmussen / Tashi Dorji (Feeding Tube Records, 2018)

Saxophonist Mette Rasmussen and guitarist Tashi Dorji met in Montreal in June of 2016 to create this fine album of experimental free improvisation, right around the time when they recorded the excellent album To the Animal Kingdom with drummer Tyler Damon. "Cattail Horse" opens the album with deep guttural saxophone carving out space, met by quick sparks of electric guitar, creating a raw and exciting soundscape. Choppy jabs resolve into great gales of sound, improvising together with choppy percussive guitar meeting peals of scouring saxophone. This moves directly into the following track, "Bull Rush," where a repetitive guitar foundation gathers energy, eventually met with long tones of excoriating saxophone, building to an impassioned roar. The music is emotional and exciting, with a boundless drive forward, as skittish waves of guitar and piercing upper register saxophone squeals combine in a brutal and scouring improvisation. "Affinity" follows directly, with pinched guitar sounds and saxophone weaving together, succeeded by long bellows of saxophone and taut rhythmic guitar forming a unique and personal sound. The music grows more abstract and tense during a quieter passage of uneasy calm, where strangled lines of saxophone arc across the soundstage bracketed by subtle guitar. This line of thought is continued on "Tall Grass," where bursts of air and popping saxophone sounds are framed by quieter guitar strumming. The tension gradually increases, with prickly points of icy guitar notes and aching saxophone create a haunted scene, becoming a grinding howl on the concluding track, "Liberty." Nearly twice as long as any other track on this album, this improvisation builds majestically from choppy guitar chords and probing saxophone, which moves into a torrid section of raw unfettered noise. Jagged peaks of electric guitar are scaled by Rasmussen's fearless saxophone playing, creating a maelstrom that sounds much larger than two instruments at play, carving our space at the intersection of post rock and free jazz, with a solo section for electric guitar built into the finale. This was an excellent album of very exciting free improvisation, with two deeply focused musicians meeting on common ground and creating spontaneous and powerful music. Mette Rasmussen / Tashi Dorji -

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