Music is sound, but is sound music? For John Cage, sound was indeed music. His avant-garde experiments with silence, environmental sounds, and prepared instruments opened up an entire world for discovery and others' improvisations. Even though he disliked the concept of improvisation, preferring chance to a musician's choices, our modern and post-modern free improvisation world has much for which to thank him. Enter the improvising duo of Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler, living in Copenhagen, and Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva a resident of Stockholm. Together they are members of the quartet Hearth with Ada Rave and Mette Rasmussen, besides numerous other ensembles they either lead or participate in. Their interests are quite diverse, performing free and composed music solo, in small ensembles and orchestral settings.
Their previous duo This Love (Clean Feed, 2015) is quite different from this outing. That album was guided by the musicians' compositions, and maintained the feel (somewhat) of chamber music. However, it did hint at the music which the pair recorded at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2021. Here they rely upon instant compositions, extended techniques, and prepared instruments. The musicians push the concepts of sound and music, fashioning notes from the literal inside and outside of their piano and trumpet. Machines are imagined with "Close"; a static sound, much like electric circuits, is generated with vibrating and quiet breathy trumpet, while Draksler works at different vibrations with her piano's strings. This is free improvisation with a small "i." The musicians eschew grand statements for the pleasures of improvisation. The satisfaction is in the discovery of new sound textures through the smeared trumpet breath and the percussive possibilities of the piano. "Liquid Rock" begins with what sounds like a blast from an elephant's trunk and develops into dreamlike piano passages. The four pieces presented are a gift of sounds which dare to become music.
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