For the third installment in his ongoing series of improvised duets, Fredy Studer selected Japanese vocalist Ami Yoshida. By now, the drummer has taught listeners to expect unexpected partners, but this time he really went out of his way to be surprising. Yoshida does things with the human voice no one has fully explored before her -- not Shelley Hirsch, not Sainkho Namtchylak, not even Phil Minton or Jaap Blonk. Her whisper-quiet, hyper-controlled squeaks, rasps, and grinds of the vocal chords evoke in turns a frail geisha quietly choking to death or several species of small furry animals. But is Studer able to adapt enough to make this pairing work? The answer is yes, at least six times out of seven. Focusing almost solely on texture, the drummer rarely hits something, going instead for the ubiquitous squeaks, resonating cymbals (he plays a single crescendo cymbal roll in "Duo 22"), and other sounds that involve more rubbing than hitting. He changes his strategy for the last piece ("Duo 27") and the result is less convincing. Yoshida has more difficulties relating to this kind of free improv drumming (with the emphasis on "drumming"), and listeners are presented with two parallel ten-minute solos as a result. That track aside, Duos 21-27 offers a stunning meeting, but it is definitely not an easy listen.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture