254

Pascal Marzan & Roger Smith: Two Spanish Guitars

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Pascal Marzan & Roger Smith: Two Spanish Guitars 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 to untangle. Not so here. What you see is what you get.



The resulting music displays a wide range of moods and techniques, although each piece has a consistency to it. Marzan and Smith seem (somehow) to know where they are going throughout, and do not get waylaid or distracted. Although obviously improvised, each piece has a beginning, middle and end, rather than feeling as if the players have been pulled hither and thither. At one extreme, both players simply delight in employing the ringing resonant tones of their nylon-strung guitars, as displayed on "Holiday in my head—part 1," allowing sufficient time and space for each of their notes to ring and decay. At the other extreme, they explore a range of extended techniques. "Holiday in my head—part 3" features prolonged sounds like brushing and popping. Ultimately, the differing techniques are integrated together successfully. The three part suite has a coherence that belies the contrasting sounds.



Pairings of acoustic guitars are comparatively rare, but all the more so when they are freely improvising. The last comparable release I can recall is Acoustic Guitar Trio (Incus, 2001); fittingly, the current pairing came about when Smith was invited to Paris in 2006 to play at a concert in honor of Derek Bailey. Bailey himself would doubtless have appreciated this music, and recognized his own influence on it. He would also applaud the fact that these are home recordings (with occasional extraneous noise which detracts from the music not one jot) that radiate the pair's pleasure in playing together. The intimacy of this music makes one feel like an eavesdropper, privileged to be allowed to listen in and share that pleasure.


Track Listing: Be careful of cheap imitations; Boiling water; Flowing water; Freezing water; Holiday in my head--part 1; Holiday in my head--part 2; Holiday in my head--part 3; Chemical warfare in Wood Green; Sparrow armour--part 1; Sparrow armour--part 2; Bye Baiji.

Personnel: Pascal Marzan: unamplified Spanish guitar; Roger Smith: unamplified Spanish guitar.

Title: Two Spanish Guitars | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Emanem


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Ullr" CD/LP/Track Review Ullr
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Dreaming Big" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming Big
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Star Gazing" CD/LP/Track Review Star Gazing
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.