Bruno Meillier

Cho

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Cho presents the inquisitive and wide-ranging duo of Bruno Meillier (electronics) and Dan Warburton (violin, viola, and piano) in five improvisations that, while drawing from each player's experiences in jazz, fall far more squarely into the realm of non-idiomatic free improv. Meillier, known for his saxophone work in quirky bands like Etron Fou Leloublan, here solely employs abstract electronics while Warburton only occasionally invokes traditional sounds from his instruments. Together, they achieve a dense, prickly, and idiosyncratically cohesive soundworld that fans of creative improvised music could hardly fail to enjoy. The opening "Slowmotion Spacewalk" floats from a gentle duet between gurgling electronics and scraped string tones into a gorgeously rich and strident viola assault out of Tony Conrad's playbook. The title cut, with Warburton inside and around his piano, raises a wonderful clatter, getting to a falling-down-the-stairs cadence that's so natural yet so rarely attained in this genre. Meillier's input (no details are supplied as to exactly what types of devices are in use) tends toward the brief and skittish while retaining an essentially lush, even liquid quality, making for an attractive tension within his own contributions, more so when juxtaposed with his partner's focused and intelligent investigations. Just when the listener thinks he or she's got this pair pretty well pegged, they toss off "The French Paradox," with Meillier tossing sine-wave volleys across the aural space in an ever-more complex web alongside Warburton bowing an overtone-driven viola drone that's dark and heady enough to threaten the integrity of one's speakers. The integration of the electronic components with acoustic richness works marvelously here and forms a satisfying and surprising conclusion to this altogether enjoyable disc. Cho provides a fine introduction to the work of these two musicians and is highly recommended for all aficionados of contemporary improvised music.

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