This trio makes a very nice electro-acoustic improv match. Günter Müller, owner of the Swiss label For 4 Ears and one of the first European artists to develop a microsound esthetic in the '90s, visits Australia in July 2002 to perform at What Is Music?, an annual festival organized in Melbourne by guitarist Oren Ambarchi. Rounding up the trio is local electronician Philip Samartzis. This CD presents two extended pieces. The first one, 31 minutes in duration, was recorded live on July 16, 2002. The second, 21 minutes long, is an Internet collaboration conducted in the fall of 2003, each improviser working at home. "Cooler" (the first piece) proposes a clinical look at e-a improv. The musicians display acute listening and a startling level of precision in their interventions. If fascinating, the piece remains somewhat cold or emotionless, which actually works out better than those words could indicate. On the contrary, "Warmer" is, well, warmer. It may have to do with the fact that Ambarchi's shimmering guitar drones are pushed further upfront or that the piece sounds much more focused, without a single dull second. If Ambarchi's contribution is rather easy to isolate (although that may be a lure), Müller's and Samartzis' blend into one set of enigmatic textures, the former mixing acoustic elements (his minimal percussion) with electronic processes and samples, the latter using field recordings (both urban and nature-based) along with electronic sounds. The two pieces would work great as two sides of an LP, but the first one is too long to fit on vinyl. So hit the pause button after track one and allow yourself some time to let it settle in. The contrast will be all the more powerful and the listening experience more rewarding.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture