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Mount Washington: Mount Washington (2004)

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Mount Washington: Mount Washington How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

An artifact created during Line Space Line's first International Festival of Improvised Music, this self-titled session features heavy hitters like Wolfgang Fuchs, Anne LeBaron, Torsten Muller, Phillip Wachsmann, Martin Blume, and Tucker Dulin, collaborating on spontaneous compositions with LSL's Jeremy Drake and Chris Heenan. The wily group of sound artists devise a program that never fails to seduce listener attention with a sense of wonder.

The seven tracks cover a surprisingly wide range of atmosphere and feelings. And, with each player encyclopedic in their lexicon of extended techniques, a greater array of sonic surprises bubbles up than one might expect. With cymbal, various strings, and Wolfgang Fuchs prowling the lower registers of the bass clarinet, they begin. Wachsmann skips through on violin, with Heenan breathily introducing some alto sax. When Muller also scrapes bottom, Fuchs goes high. Drake drags the wound guitar strings, Wachsmann waxes pizzicato, while Heenan stays fluffy toned until a long clear note at the end.

An unparalleled cross current of sound roils to introduce the second performance, then Fuchs' throbbing bass clarinet creates a foundation, with Muller playing through deep and Heenan duets with flutters and pops on alto. Wachsmann, LeBaron, and Drake work wonders with a string trio. Muller opens the third track with rough tones and Blume peppers him with sticks on percussion. Wachsmann, Muller, Drake, and LeBaron weave spells, then Heenan and Fuchs face off with bass clarinets, Dulin adding flavor with trombone. The ensemble fully engages, the eight unique individuals essaying a wild teeming voice. Wachsmann, Heenan, LeBaron, Dulin, and Muller emerge for a light interlude to end it.

The horns chatter over Muller's subharmonics, Fuchs and Heenan again on bass clarinets. Everyone crackles with short bursts, then the piece becomes a spacious terrain with undeniable momentum. The fifth improvisation sneaks in with Wachsmann and Heenan, quickly growing with Blume's quick percussion, and another fascinating exchange between Heenan and Fuchs, this time alto and sopranino, respectively. Wachsmann adds violin and space sound electronics simultaneously. The long piece ends with Fuchs' exercising amazing tonguing techniques, with Wachsmann joining in the frenzy.

Low hum and gentle gong start the sixth's session exercise in minimalism. Free and flowing with imaginative understated textures, the ensuing restraint paradoxically sizzles with expectancy. Muller, Fuchs, and LeBaron stir the pot on the last performance, the latter's harp playfully tuneful. Fuchs and Muller tear around her, giving way to Heenan puffing softly with Blume adding tender taps. Drake and LeBaron sparkle in duet to end it.

Mount Washington delivers on its promise of a sonic summit, with eight musicians from disparate backgrounds meeting on the common ground of freedom.

Track Listing: 5:41; 8:02; 10:29; 7:32; 12:36; 6:38; 9:42.

Personnel: Martin Blume, percussion; Jeremy Drake, amplified acoustic guitar; Tucker Dulin, trombone; Wolfgang Fuchs, sopranino saxophone, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet; Chris Heenan, alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Anne LeBaron, harp; Torsten Muller, contrabass; Phillip Wachsmann, violin and electronics.

Record Label: Reify Recordings

Style: Modern Jazz


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