Do not be misled by the title: no bots or algorithms were involved in creating this album. While there have been fascinating experiments in improvisation with interactive software by George Lewis, Richard Teitelbaum and others, Artificial Intelligence is just under an hour of spontaneous human interaction by two of the most prolific and uncategorizable improvisers in New York.
This is a studio recording of free improvisation, from January 2022. There are no compositions, and if there are edits or overdubs they are well-concealed.
Elliott Sharp begins the half-hour opening track on clean-toned electric guitar, gradually unveiling his effects collection, then bases the second piece on layers of electronically looped and reversed sounds. His highly percussive attack sometimes evokes Derek Bailey, but Sharp is more interested in the timbral possibilities of the instrument and employs a slide, two-handed tapping, and an eBow, which Bailey did not.
Ivo Perelman plays tenor sax exclusively and is essentially a melodic player, often using a warm sound and a wide vibrato. He and Sharp do not avoid settling in common pitch areas ("tonality" would be too specific), and Perelman quotes a ballad or two on the first track and uses some blues licks on the final one. While in the school of Archie Shepp and David Murray, he is a more technically inside player than either, relatively rarely using multiphonics or probing the altissimo register or employing other extended techniques. However, the session gets noisier as it progresses, reaching a harsh but brief peak at the conclusion of track three. Both players seem increasingly challenged to explore their sonic resources; by the last track Sharp has picked up a mandolin or a similar double-strung acoustic instrument (not mentioned in the credits), and Perelman is playing the saxophone's mouthpiece detached from the horn.
While both players record copiously, Perelman has rarely, if ever, collaborated with a musician who uses electronics as much as Sharp. That experiment is largely successful and this album is recommended to fans of either of these artists. The exposed duo setting also makes this a good entry point for the curious neophyte, because it is a clear document of what these players do on their instruments and how they brought their sound worlds together.
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