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Continuing with his pursuance of String Quartets and String Trios, bassist Dominic Duval also happens to be one of the more visible musicians in todays modern jazz and improvisational scenes spanning Europe and the United States. With his latest endeavor titled Under The Pyramid Duval aligns himself with some of his peers, collectively known as the C.T. String Quartet. Here, the bassist along with noted cellist Tomas Ulrich, violinist Jason Hwang and viola maestro Ron Lawrence perform over 60 minutes of largely improvised and as implied in the liners, dark and dense pieces that sting, hack and burn. Throughout, the musicians engage in dazzling and somewhat ferocious interplay featuring loads of dissonant motifs and circuitous paths that come at you like a violent windstorm on pieces such as The Mayan and Mi Kuba Na (His Name Is She). Yet besides the intensity and tumultuous dialogue, it would be nice to occasionally hear a tinge of melody or some articulation of harmony thrown into the mix; hence, Under The Pyramid tends to be a tough listen in one sitting. But on the flipside, the music represented here, falls in line with new ways of melding austere classicism with loose dialogue and free-flowing themes as these gentlemen could not be accused of boring us with lackluster musicianship or for a lack of hearty ideas. Essentially, the musicians perform with brawn and a great degree of emotion on Under The Pyramid and if you need somewhat of a rapidly-induced spiritual cleansing than this new release might get the job done in expedient fashion. * * *