Long live the twintar! It is the name of an instrument, specifically a guitar built to be played flat on a tabletop by two players -- thus the "twin" in a name that seems to be doing multiple duty as an instrument name, band name, maybe even the name of the event where this was recorded in Portugal, as well as the name of the record company and a kind of catalog number. Performers Albrecht Loops and Nuno Rebelo are the masterminds behind the twintar. Although their creation is related to guitar music, it is not exactly regular guitar technique that guides the improviser on an instrument that is stretched out flat like a corpse on an autopsy table. Having a pair of players to take part in this process is really a bonus. Listeners who have observed players such as Fred Frith, the young Jim O'Rourke, or Kevin Drumm on tabletop guitars may have secretly wished for a third set of hands to negotiate the removal of a pair of tweezers from a link in a small chain, for example, a conundrum that in the case of a solo performer will be utilized as a musical lull more out of necessity than invention. Here, things move more effectively, more hands lightening the load. It must be noted, however, that the contents of the CD seem to be selected from two nights of performance, indicating the potential for editing in the presentation of what seems like an unusually succinct twintar outing. The recording opens with prepared guitar sounds so standard and comfortable, at least to followers of this rarified genre, that "twintar" might provoke a rhyme with "been there," at least if the latter expression were enunciated by someone from Maine. Within a few minutes, various processing effects have kicked in and the two players are deep into a highly concentrated, quite moving improvisation, devoid of allegiance to doctrines associated with any particular "real" musical instrument. This of course is the appeal of tabletop or similar electronic and/or percussion setups. Demands are made on players to come through with the sort of improvisational sonic spirit that would permit a really great player to do an entire concert on a rubber band; Loops and Rebelo respond well to this challenge.
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