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Maneri Maneri Quite Contrary: The Soul with Longing for Dim Hills & Happening

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Masashi Harada / Mat Maneri
The Soul With Longing For Dim Hills And Faint Horizons
Leo
2006


Francois Carrier
Happening
Leo
2006




Mat Maneri's playing weaves in and out of the immediately recognizable; combining jazz rhetoric with the mercurial staticity of non-western music, his playing exists just on the edge of definition, even his vibrato elastically defying any strict categorization.

Fitting then that these two discs find him in such diverse but inventive circumstances. The disc with master pianist and composer Masashi Harada is the more accessible only in that it presents fewer timbres with which the unsuspecting listener must grapple. The dialogue is obviously more intimate, even in the most frenetic passages, which never last very long before being halted by a fist-in-stomach moment of temporal elongation or silence or some combination of both. There is a serenity, unforced but palpable, about the whole project - listen to Maneri's solo entrance on the final track, as time and pitch bend to an admittedly gentle but purposeful vision. The symbiosis between these two players is stunning at best, frightening at worst and the disc is simply brimming with telepathic communication.

Happening, recorded live last year in front of a small but appreciative audience, was my introduction to the beautifully Eastern-tinged musings of Francois Carrier, whose work I will now follow with keen interest. The choice to include such a broad instrumental pallet on this expansive set proved a perfect backdrop to his own microtonal explorations, Maneri and Carrier in particular in beautiful dialogic harmony. In "Happening 4 , an achingly 'Oriental' unfolding for thumb-piano, drums and bass, Maneri and Carrier are sometimes one voice, cranking up the energy almost imperceptibly against a modal but hard backdrop that exudes increasing heat.

While Ezra Pound is not one of the poets referenced in the Harada/Maneri disc's track titles, his experience in a Paris Metro station, in haiku, provides a perfect summation both of the music on offer here and of Maneri's playing in particular - its alternate immediacy and abstraction, but most of all, the heart-breaking intensity underlying each phrase:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd: Petals on a wet, black bough.


Tracks and Personnel

The Soul With Longing For Dim Hills And Faint Horizons

Tracks: First Track; Second Track.

Personnel: Masashi Harada; Mat Maneri.

Happening

Tracks: First Track; Second Track.

Personnel: Francois Carrier; Mat Maneri; Uwe Neumann; Pierre Cote; Michel Lambert.


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