Chris Forsyth

Forsyth Heenan

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This eponymous CD presents an intimate free improv studio session between guitarist Chris Forsyth and saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Heenan. It catches Forsyth in a slightly calmer mood. He is spending less time on squeezing out noisy textures from his prepared electric guitar in order to stick to a more conventional finger-on-strings approach -- conventional in the physical sense only. His playing is at times reminiscent of Derek Bailey (in the fingering, the fast-paced runs, the spasmodic flow), but most of the music has a highly personal feel. Heenan is an excellent mate: his silence-based approach brings to mind Wolfgang Fuchs, Michel Doneda, and John Butcher: lots of overtones, controlled squeaks, and graceful arabesques between and outside the notes. The session seems to follow a general course from the quiet and textural to a form of music slightly more extroverted and tone-based, culminating in the two strongest pieces, "I Begin to Understand" and "I Like the Way You Use Language." Precise and puzzling, the music remains somewhat cold and uninvolving, as if it had problems transcending its self-imposed aridity, thus keeping the listening experience confined to the intellect. Fans of Forsyth's duets with Ernesto Diaz-Infante may find this one a little dry.

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