Outside the classical genre, clarinet duos are not common but Turkish native Oğuz Büyükberber and German, Tobias Klein, each play an assortment of clarinets including the lower octave bass and contrabass versions. Along with the more familiar Bb instrument, the two musicians cover a full spectrum of woodwind sounds. Both artists, now residing in The Netherlands, are brought together on Reverse Camouflage by the Amsterdam-based TryTone label.
The program consists of structured compositions and improvisations with three of the thirteen pieces being penned by Klein and the remainder, joint efforts. The emphasis across the collection skews toward free playing and Büyükberber and Klein, who have been playing together for more than ten years, are adapt at holding the compositions together even as they push the limits beyond formal constructs. The two run the gamut from squeaks and low guttural grunts to melodic unison playing.
"Eptaenneadeka" opens the set with Büyükberber and Klein leisurely trading phrases back and forth before "Pallidus" introduces a clear melody but with a low, slurred, bluesy feel. "Diminutus" takes a bit more of a reflective and melodic approach, though still with a great deal of variation in its layers and density. There is an ambient element in several pieces as well, particularly on "Niveus" and later with "Tung Sten" which goes from minimalism to noise.
Büyükberber and Klein provide a good amount of variety across these compact pieces. Some feel experimental, such as "Veligero," where fat round notes seem to bubble up from the surface. "Selene" is a blend of classical influences and Indian accents; not surprisingly, as Klein has spent considerable time touring in that country. At other points, Reverse Camouflage is darker, such as the mysterious "Bimaculatus" and the percussive and shadowy "Argus." Both utilize the deep, murky, lower registers of the bass instruments. The musicianship is first rate and the album, something different.
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