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Recorded in New York in March 2001 as part of Elliott Sharp's 50th birthday celebrations, this is the second release from this duo, after Anostalgia (Grob, 2002). The combination of Reinhold Friedl's pianoprepared or played insidewith Sharp's array of instruments is highly distinctive. The two players are adept at laying down repeated patternsas close as one could ever get to riffs in freely improvised musicwhich are frequently complex, but also highly engaging and entertaining. Typically, Friedl lays down the pattern and Sharp both goes with its flow but also acts as a random element, not allowing it to get too comfortable.
Once a pattern has been established, you will not be shocked or surprised by any sudden changes of direction. There is development of ideas, but their flow seems logical and unforced, arising from negotiated interactions between the two. The pair embellish and elaborate patterns for as long as seems appropriate. It never feels as if a piece has outstayed its welcome or been flogged to death; rather, one is much more likely to be left craving more of the same as a piece fades out when it seems to have potential for further exploration. This is just as true of "Ify, which runs to over eleven minutes and builds to an impressive climax, as it is of the shorter tracks.
The pieces have very different sounds and moods, from the pleasing tranquility of the opener, "Dict, to the harsher electronic edge of "Pel, but they have far more similarities than differences, and there is a feeling of overarching order and coherence to the album.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.