In the Tour de France, the bicycle race (not Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations tours), the organizers rate the mountains the competitors are required to cycle over. There is a category 1 climb: a little hill; category 2: a bigger hill; and so on. They reserve the designation "HC" for "hors catergorie, or a beyond category climb, one that even automobiles find difficult.
Please allow me to rate The Interview by Jon Mueller (percussion) and Jim Schoenecker (synthesizer) as HC. It is beyond minimal and free improvisation.
Mueller and Schoenecker (aka "pressboard"), collaborators in the band Collections Of Colonies Of Bees and with the saxophonist Bhob Rainey, came together to perform at the AC Live series in Chicago, and shortly afterwards they recorded a limited (200 copies) release CD-R in 2003.
The performance of that thirty-minute live free apartment concert was recreated for this studio session. Does that mean this is not improvisation? Dunno. Does that mean it was notated? Don't think so. Can we call this a composition? (See the definition of HC.)
Similar to the marvelous solo percussion recording What's Lost Is Something Important, What's Found Is Something Not Revealed (Crouton, 2005), Mueller's minimalist percussion raises hypnotic palettes of solid color. He merges the human touch with the objects that he vibrates, pops, scrapes, or taps.
The collaboration with Schoenecker adds an almost faceless whiteness to this session. The synthesizer is called upon to add tones and shading to Mueller's coloring. Thundering bass enters somewhere in the middle section, while Mueller works a bit of snare. Things get a bit nasty, waking you from your meditation. Okay, this isn't a Zen thing. Or maybe it is a Zen thing, and by the way, quit hitting me with your stick.
Personnel: Jon Mueller: percussion; Jim Schoenecker: synthesizer.