Stefano Pastor & Charlotte Hug: Paragon D'archi (2014)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The title of the debut duo album of Swiss viola player and vocalist Charlotte Hug and Italian violinist Stefano Pastor is symbolic and insightful. Archi in Italian means bows, as the ones used for the string instruments of Hug and Pastor, but also arches, as in architectural structures. Yet the spectacular, improvised duets of these two masters do not attempt to be perfect structures, musical equivalents of baroque paragons. These duets suggest newer, inventive means for playing with sounds, using the studio space and expanding the vocabulary of its instruments, by fusing energy, sensuality, austerity, polyphony, sublime melody, and obviously, applying various extended techniques, with no overdubs or electronic modifications.
The approaches of Pastor and Hug complement each other. Pastor refers to his playing of the violin as "the string as tube." Thanks to a unique amplification and the physical plane of his violin he captures almost imperceptible sounds, thus transforming his instrument sounds to ones similar of wind instruments, surprising in its human vocal quality, at times even sounding as an electric guitar. Hug has developed a personal soft bow technique, perfected over the years through the use of various bows, and employing her expressive voice, as a means to extend and enrich the sound of the viola strings.
The communication between Hug and Pastor is immediate, inventive, and profound. The construction of sound and textures is almost telepathic, making it almost impossible to differentiate the origins of the sounds of Hug and Pastor's instruments. The intimate interplay is reflective on common stringed instrument duets but at the same time exploratory and adventurous in its uncommon architectural structures, its insistence to articulate its distinct, highly personal sounds, often eccentric and weird but usually playful. And most important, its original poetic syntax that is not shy of going beyond any conventional dimensions of time and space of such duets.
Fantastic duet by true masters.
Track Listing: Catena; Trilobato; Serilana; Volta; Rampante; Piattabanda;
Policeentrico; Parabolico; A tutto sesto; Inflesso; Polilobato;
Asimetrico; Acuto; Ferro di cavallo; A mensola; Armilla; Paragone
Personnel: Charlotte Hug: viola, voice; Stefano Pastor: violin.
Record Label: Leo Records