Lindsay Cooper

State of Volgograd

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The mysterious Trio Trabant a Roma is none other than Alfred 23 Harth, Lindsay Cooper, and Phil Minton -- three dedicated improvisers and communists. And while the title of this project lends itself to some mysterious conceptual film, it's hardly that. All three artists were part of Cooper's and Sally Potter's Oh Moscow project, and all three have worked together many times before. The five selections that make up this work are improvisations worked out conceptually in advance by the trio. The most notable of these works is "Orbital Tent," where Minton's deep baritone voice winds its way down into an edge between Cooper's keyboards and Harth's sopranino saxophone. Cooper's own soprano is dubbed in and, as the pitch of the three instruments rises, Minton's voice does so too, and is then countered by a distorted midrange one (dubbed) and a lower one (also dubbed). All are wordless. The lowest of the three comes across as overtone singing and covers the middle of the improvisation as a moan and entreaty as Cooper's bassoon edges in for accompaniment. Also notable is the gargantuan "Main Movies et Negentropical Territories," a soundtrack for your nightmares where war cries, echoes of Ornette Coleman, and tape loops all interweave and collide. This is improvisation of a very high order in that, while it has no goal or defined purpose but the journey itself, elements of the journey are paramount, and the process is painstaking and thorough. The minimal "Beyond Cut," which closes the disc, provides an encore aspect to this performance. Harth and Minton pair in shimmering squeaks and squawks, quoting from the greats of jazz past as Cooper treats everything electronically and then does her own bit of jazz homage. Beautiful, funny, and outrageous. What more could you ask for?

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