Mitch Heinrich

Frogsongs

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Despite its title and cover photo, this voice/violin free improvisation session is not really about frogs, although Mitch Heinrich does seek inspiration from the batrachian sound world in the opening and closing pieces. Somewhat uneven, these studio recordings from 2001 are nevertheless of interest. Heinrich's extended vocal techniques encompass Phil Minton's squealing rubbermouth approach and David Moss' low growls and throat singing. Here, he approaches improvisation with the seriousness of a Sainkho Namchylak or Paul Dutton, which does not prevent him from slipping in an occasional touch of humor in the vein of Minton or Jaap Blonk. Sadly, his voice is recorded from afar (and/or with a cheap microphone), making it sound thinner and less impressive than it probably is. On the other hand, Christoph Irmer's violin is often in your face, screeching drones like Malcolm Goldstein playing with a 100-pound weight tied to the end of his bow. Irmer, better known thanks to recordings with Peter Kowald (on FMP) and Dominic Duval (on Leo), has developed a colorful, highly original language on his instrument that, as teeth-grinding as it may be, has the resourcefulness to match Heinrich's thousand voices. The pair connects wonderfully in "Moonmoonshanghaibaby" and "King X," but elsewhere they are a lot less convincing, as in the frog-related "Froschgesänge Einst."

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