Roger Smith

S&M

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    8
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These flute and acoustic guitar duets were recorded in a variety of places under widely varying conditions in 1994 and 1995. They range from Ian Vickers' and Neil Metcalfe's flats to concerts in Hollywell to a proper studio in London. Despite the discontinuity of their circumstances, these proceedings do provide a flow-through -- if not see-through -- listen to the incremental process of improvisation that occurs between Smith and Metcalfe. Sonority is the elemental base from which tonal extensions are built. These joint sonances are wrapped around one another in arpeggio strings, legato phrases, and even a percussively ostinato thrust. When they reach a level of tension that pushes the tonal envelope to the point of fracture, long detours are taken down the various paths the improvisers took to get there. It's remarkable, really. It feels a little bit like Alice down the rabbit hole in its maze-like construction. And perhaps that is due to the sheer genius of the sequencing here. This doesn't listen like a recording that was assembled despite its disparate sources; it feels like an extended improvisation on three or four themes and variants worked out on the spot. There is no ebb to this music; it is all flow, ever downward, spiraling through the maze of its mystery and deep into the heart of the open-minded listener -- another winner for Incus.

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