The Kryonics

The Kryonics

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The Kryonics are not your average string trio. Along with conventional violins, Aleks Kolkowski and Jon Rose play odd instruments such as the Stroh violin (a violin with a gramophone horn in place of a sound box) and the Stroh "one-string fiddle," relics from the early days of the 20th century taken from Kolkowski's collection. These instruments and Matthias Bauer's orthodox double bass were played without amplification and recorded with two microphones, giving the performance an "in your living room" feel. Most of the free improvisations played at this May 24, 2000, concert were short (between three and five minutes), with one exception ("Polar Ear" at 16 minutes). Rose is the best-known player here and his performance lives up to expectations, bringing together virtuosity, sensitivity, and humor. Kolkowski turns out to be the perfect mate, relaying ideas, transforming them, and supplying fresh ones (his melancholically evanescent melody at the beginning of "Frigid Aire" is a highlight). With two violins beside him, Bauer's role becomes central and he handles it with grace. "Frozen PP" must be the strangest string trio ever, with both violinists producing plaintive grainy sounds while Bauer strikes his bow across the strings with frenzy. While the shorter tracks explore specific settings, "Polar Ear" is an engaging display of dynamics and moods. The Kryonics should delight Jon Rose fans, who don't get to hear him in acoustic settings very often. Strongly recommended.

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