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Denman Maroney & Hans Tammen: Billabong

Glenn Astarita By

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This new release titled, Billabong presents the listener with a series of duets by two eminent improvisers who pursue relatively unusual implementations as Denman Maroney mans the “hyperpiano” in concert with Hans Tammen’s permutations on the “endangered guitar”.

With this effort, the duo converges for eight pieces that might depict some sort of bizarre and thoroughly imaginative musings among creatures from outer space as the musicians offer a very special language atop a seemingly uncontrollable path of improvisational deconstruction. On the opening track “Stud”, Tammen performs scathing lines amid disjointed sequences of maniacal interaction with Maroney’s percussive block chords and somewhat patented techniques and explorations from within the inner workings of his piano. Here, the musicians explore ethereal yet roughly hewn soundscapes, in conformance with their protean statements and frenetic interplay. Yet on “Bog”, Tammen produces a horde of downright eerie tones on his amplified ax, which elicits imagery of something intangible yet imminently catastrophic. Whereas on “Jag”, the twosome renders a motif that could signify a schizophrenic or warped tiptoe waltz, accelerated by Tammen’s strange articulations that sound like tape loops replayed in reverse. Maroney launches an attack on his detuned piano strings yet counters with a humorous sonata on “Bounce”. - Throughout, the duo elicits a distinct sense of playful mayhem via their nearly indescribable methods of execution and often mind-bending yet incredibly seductive improvisations.

* * * * (Out of * * * * *)

( Potlatch )


Title: Billabong | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: New World Records


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