The darkly abstract, acoustic, baritone guitar duo is back with its latest and best, a difficult claim to make, given the excellences of their past releases. Parabola is a haunting brocade of the far reaches of moody pointillism, a mode immediately intoned in an opening cut, Hyperbola, sounding like an unused track from the masterful Towner / Abercrombie LPs for ECM, treasures we lovers of the six strings hold in highest esteem (and which I, lucky bastard that I am, had a chance to see done live, a pairing never to be outdone). The song typifies the entire attitude of a duet forever reaching for more bizarre and compelling instrumental stylings in this mode, eventide melodic while atonal. Manfred Eicher gave up on the eerily delightful phase long ago, so thank God Szabo & Kastning haven't.
I've before drawn the parallels between this pair and Bill Connors' early work, also for ECM, and the cut Vertex I switches him in, replacing the Abercrombie element, sparkling runs and technique joining with what would be Bill's more nightskied nature. The titles on this disc seem to suggest a Morphogenesis flavor perhaps, but that would be true only in the unorthodox approaches taken. The guitarists have a taste for intelligent nomenclature reflecting the fractalized, as does Morphogenesis, but there's a much greater exercise of formalism despite the volatile nature of the work.
The disc abounds with incidentalism, as Trilateration demonstrates while wandering starstruck and on edge in a Pollockian universe, pizzicato bursts showering to the side. Cartesian Other has a balladic air…if, that is, the sonic lay were written by Cassandra courting Roderick Usher, the pair moon-eyed over beautifully drear landscapes and disturbing portents. As if to emphasize this, Straxii closes down the disc by combining Hyperbola with Trilateration for a macabre mad slow-dance of disintegratingly strophic airs leaving the listener adrift on far shores of sirenically fogmisted lands—bemused, dazed, and only too happy for the displacement.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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