Daniel Heïkalo

Quand le Temps Est Mou... Vos Fenêtres Fondent

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The concert flute holds a very small place in the pantheon of free improvisation. Its poor cousin, the recorder, is almost nonexistent. Daniel Heïkalo is one of the very few improvisers to use the recorder on a regular basis. Quand le Temps Est Mou...Vos Fenêtres Fondent (literally "When the Weather -- or Time -- Is Soft, Your Windows Melt") culls solo improvisations on the tenor and bass members of this family, along with four duets with guitarist Arthur Bull. Of course, Heïkalo is not your average improviser; he is wilder than that (think happening freak). While playing the recorder he also sings, shouts, hits nearby percussion instruments, and dances. The range of sounds, dynamics, and textures he gets out of his wooden appendage defies expectations. The duet tracks bring variety and contrast, making listeners realize by the addition of a second player how busy he is on his own. Bull is a regular partner; the duo has two albums out. Their level of interaction here matches any of their other recordings. The solo tracks "Abrupte Tonsure de Beagle Napiforme" and "La Danse Finale" stand as highlights, thanks to the man's unique kind of craziness: on the first one he talks in his flute, creating breathing effects; in the latter he stomps around for the most unlikely jig. At times, tricks like these can sound like, well, tricks, but if Heïkalo uses them for their entertainment value, he also manages to make them sound honest, the natural extension of his flamboyant art. Impressive.

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