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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pascal Marzan / John Russell: Translations

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The magic of Pascal Marzan and John Russell's Translations lies in the miraculous pliability of strings. The two guitarists are dangerously adventurous, although one is slightly more programmatic than the other; still, both artists test the elasticity of their nylon and steel strings to the maximum extent. It is almost certain, however, that Marzan and Russell did not set out to make this album as edgy as it turned out; too much of it sounds unscripted, with music stuttering at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pascal Marzan /John Russell: Translations

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"By the way, if you don't like guitars you won't like this CD!" So says guitarist John Russell, in his sleeve note to Translations, laying out the truth in typically plain, simple terms. Russell is part of the generation of improvisers who came together in London in the '70s and have been mainstays of the capital's improv scene ever since. If that makes it sound parochial, thanks to Russell the reality has been very different. Through his monthly Mopomoso series ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pascal Marzan & Roger Smith: Two Spanish Guitars

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Everything about this release has a disarming sense of honesty about it. From the no-nonsense statement of its title, an echo of Roger Smith's earlier solo album on Emanem, Spanish Guitar (2002), to the separation of the two guitars that allows us to hear who is doing what, to the clean clarity of the recording, it is refreshingly straightforward. Never let it be said that musicians' use of electronics is less than honest, but it can make the music difficult ...