100

Violin & Piano: Distich & Minamo

By

Sign in to view read count








Mat Maneri/Denman Maroney
Distich
Nuscope
2007


Carla Kihlstedt/Satoko Fujii
Minamo
Henceforth
2007




As a reviewer, it's vitally important to resist the urge to compare two albums that, on the surface, have so much in common. While both Distich and Minamo share the relatively unique pairing of viola or violin with piano in an improvised setting, they strike markedly divergent creative paths. They're as dynamic and unique as any nuanced conversation between friends.

Although in complete musical agreement, pianist Denman Maroney and violist Mat Maneri spar good-naturedly on "Doublet , the fifth track of Distich. Maneri's five-string viola bobs and weaves through a volley of clipped piano lines and sharply accented dyads before he's finally allowed to emerge, sounding a series of long, doleful strains before dropping back into the fray. The duo strikes a satisfying balance throughout the album, challenging each other musically while maintaining an astounding level of cohesion.

Those familiar with Maroney and Maneri's previous work won't be surprised to hear the other-worldly sonic effects conjured throughout the album's nine tracks — extended techniques are second nature to both men. Maroney leans over to pluck strings and hammer notes as often as other pianists step on the sustain pedal and Maneri is right there with him when the mood is right. On "Match , the duo are once again in the thick of a cat and mouse game when Maroney smothers a high run with his left hand; Maneri doesn't hesitate to dampen his own strings while tapping a rhythmic counterpoint on the body of his viola. This moment, a climax in a performance of lesser merit, is only a preface to the gorgeous, meandering ascent that is the wrenching finale.

Pianist Satoko Fujii and violinist Carla Kihlstedt launch into what could be a dramatic finale a mere three minutes into "Remembering Backwards , the opening track of Minamo. The improvised piece, driven largely by a series of bassy ostinatos from Fujii, is fodder for Kihlstedt's virtuosic violin. She contrasts Fujii's convulsing lows with screaming sustains at the top of her instrument's register; she mercilessly probes the dense air with blinding runs before seeming to vanish, moments before a crashing conclusion, beyond the aural realm.

Fujii and Kihlstedt employ extended techniques on "Remainder of one, Reminder of two , the episodic concluding track. In this case, the effects come off sounding calculated — though no less compelling for it — and the resulting music sounds almost as if it were written. Against a gorgeously cascading line from Fujii, Kihlstedt's violin pauses at a precipice before plummeting down to a brilliant low-note and a haze of swirling harmonics. The duo gracefully vacillate between supporting and soloist roles throughout the duration of the 26-minute improvisation, avoiding predictable climaxes and allowing their conversation to run its natural course.


Tracks and Personnel

Distich

Tracks: Bicinium; Brace; Couplet; Distich; Doublet; Match; Span; Twain; Yoke.

Personnel: Mat Maneri: viola; Denman Maroney: hyperpiano.

Minamo

Tracks: Remembering Backwards; One Hundred and Sixty Billion Spray; Lychnis; Remainder of one, Reminder of two.

Personnel: Carla Kihlstedt: violin; Satoko Fujii: piano.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read A Sense of Place Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read David Murray Octets on Black Saint Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read New and Notable Releases Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants Multiple Reviews The Narell Brothers: Steelpan Music Merchants
by Nigel Campbell
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Emanem Releases New Music From Late, Great Heroes Lacy And Rutherford" Multiple Reviews Emanem Releases New Music From Late, Great Heroes Lacy And...
by John Eyles
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos" Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra your rocket ship is ready" Multiple Reviews Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra your rocket ship is ready
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Pi Recordings 2016 Releases" Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out" Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.