In retrospect the meeting of Belgian guitarist & composer Ruben Machtelinckx and Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen seems inevitable. They are both masters of delicacy and texture, as well as having distinctive and unusual sounds on their respective instruments. Machtelinckx composed most of the tunes, but these duets cast both players as equal contributors. It is a sound like chamber music, with no heroic solos.
"Lessness" opens the album with an introspective air, acoustic guitar and Henriksen's distinctive reedy trumpet entwining, neither taking an obvious solo role. Machtelinckx begins "Resemblance" with a solo introduction before being joined by the trumpet for the theme.
"Strands of Black Hair" is the first of four duet improvisations, featuring lyrical trumpet lines played over spacious guitar chords interspersed with harmonics. "Beek 2" is a brief conversation between trumpet and abstract, textural guitar. "Stone Garden" revisits the slow rubato of the first improv, but with a more Middle Eastern sound in the trumpet lines. The final improvisation "Pines of Onoe '' is a brief soundscape with hints of Japanese koto in the guitar part.
"Variation of Shadows" is one of Machtelinckx's more lyrical compositions, beautifully rendered by both players. "Dawning" concludes the set with just a hint of the drama and grandeur of the beginning of a new day. The album title is descriptive. Most of the tracks are three minutes long or less, and the entire program is satisfying without overstaying its welcome.
Lessness; Towards the Redwood Curtain; Resemblance; Strands of Black Hair; Leaves, Birds and Grapes; Beek 2; Variation of Shadows; Sleepwalkers Forest; Beek; Stone Garden; Pines of Onoe; Dawning.
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