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Album Review

Lucio Capece, Katie Porter: Phase to Phase

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Lucio Capece, Katie Porter: Phase to Phase
It seems highly likely that the Covid lockdown period will be remembered for the many recordings created because of it, made by musicians collaborating from afar, each confined but able to communicate and swap music using the internet. A range of such recordings has already been released, with a steady trickle still emerging. One such is Phase to Phase by the duo of the Argentinian-born, Berlin-based Lucio Capece and the US-born Utah- resident Katie Porter, both of whom play bass clarinet, with Porter also playing E flat contrabass clarinet.

After the two first exchanged work, in 2017, they perceived a common approach to playing their instruments, to sound, and to music; this led to a desire to play together but, due to Covid, they had to meet over the internet. For over a year, between April 2020 and July 2021, they met online almost every Tuesday. Porter says that they talked, and talked, and talked, with their bass clarinets in their hands, for an hour a week. They talked about their lives, played together, rehearsed, recorded and together composed the two pieces heard here. Due to the limitations of the technology, sometimes they were trying to follow each other's breath and gestures by sight, mostly. The limitations of the composition were within the limitations of the technology.

The end products fully justify the many hours that the two spent together online and the hours which Capece spent editing their recordings, mixing them, then sending Porter mixes for approval. Both pieces are characterised by notes which slowly swell, are sustained and then just as slowly fade away. There are gaps between notes so they never sound rushed, but are given plenty of time and space so that they can be fully heard and appreciated. Neither of the players shies away from a pregnant pause. Mostly, the two clarinets rise and fall together, but occasionally they overlap, an effect which works well. On "Phase to Phase 1" both play bass clarinet, and it is virtually impossible to determine which is which, so intertwined are they. On "Phase to Phase 2," Porter switched to E flat contralto clarinet so the two are identifiable, but their playing styles remain remarkably similar. Throughout, both players sound as if they love their instruments and are gently caressing each note from them, savouring the sounds then letting them gently fade away. If it is not already obvious, this music makes for relaxing listening; the album's forty-six minutes pass so easily that once they are over the only sensible choice is often to repeat them again.

There is a happy ending to this story: In September 2021, once Covid rules were relaxed, Capece and Porter met face to face for the first time in Berlin where they premiered "Phase to Phase 1" and "Phase to Phase 2." They got along as well as they had through their year of online meeting. In July 2022 the two met again in Dusseldorf at Wandelweiser's annual Klangraum festival, at which they performed as a duo each day. Their music was praised and appreciated by all present. Meanwhile, Phase to Phase was released by Ftarri and seems destined to be one of the best albums of the year and certainly one of the best resulting from an internet collaboration brought about by Covid. A triumph.

Track Listing

Phase to Phase 1; Phase to Phase 2.

Personnel

Lucio Capece: clarinet, bass; Katie Porter: clarinet, bass.

Additional Instrumentation

Katie Porter: E flat contrabass clarinet (2).

Album information

Title: Phase to Phase | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Ftarri


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