Minimalist composer Terry Riley and avant-garde bassist Stefano Scodanibbio collaborated on Diamond Fiddle Language over a period of a year and a half and recorded this disc's two versions in separate locations: a concert hall in Huddersfield, England, and the lava caves of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. A side-by-side comparison of the renditions reveals more differences in mood and attitude than changes of pitch content or dramatically altered shapes of the whole work. Diamond Fiddle Language I seems rather tight, expository, and focused, while Diamond Fiddle Language II has a looser improvisational feeling and suggests a more relaxed playing around the edges of the material. Though Riley uses scales based on the pentatonic raga malkauns, and adjusts them to Scodanibbio's varied tunings, the effect of their playing together is much more harmonically complex and free in execution, hovering somewhere between jazz and aleatoric experimentation. At its later stage of development, DFL II is less inhibited than DFL I, and its resonant venue is more conducive to taking liberties. Tritono, a duet based on the diminished fifth (D sharp/A), provides an interlude between the two DFL performances; this tour de force serves to focus concentration and clears the air between the two larger, spacier improvisations. These live recordings are quite clear and full of presence, and the few audience noises are tolerable.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson