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01.06.16 Review

by Fran├žois Couture

The best way to describe 01.06.16 would be "site-specific free improv" or "environmental free improv." Kiyoharu Kuwayama (cello) and Rina Kijima (violin) set to play and record under a highway in the middle of the night. There are absolutely no electronics involved -- a rarity on the Trente Oiseaux label. What you hear is four excerpts from their performance, violin and cello intermingling with the sounds of cars passing by. Kuwayama and Kijima create delicate improvisations remote from any classical or jazz languages: fragile gestures, extended techniques, and acute listening. This music has a counterpart in England in the work of Simon H. Fell's IST and Tony Wren's Quatuor Accorde. But here there is the extra in situ feel. At times, it seems the musicians deliberately ignore the traffic over their heads. In specific sections, they sound propelled by the level of ambient noise. Witness the end of "01.06.16 A": The sudden absence of traffic (a rare occurrence) prompts them to distillate the music, let it evaporate completely. This is the second all-acoustic album Trente Oiseaux released. The first one was a collaboration between Reinhold Friedl and Michael Vorfeld; it kept a tie to the lowercase aesthetic established by the label. 01.06.16 is different, as it doesn't make microscopic study of sound or silence an essential aspect of the music. On the other hand, it raises questions on performance space and the recording (ossification) of improvised music (ephemeral by nature). More importantly, at the basis of it all is a highly inspired performance by the two players. Recommended.

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