Based on a show I’d seen Bernard Falaise do at the Montreal free-jazz hotspot Casa Obscura, I know that the guy’s just a totally mental guitar player. There aren’t many people you’d want to plunk down into the middle of a recording session with this guy: who could keep up? If I remeber correctly, some of the other otherwise very talented players he holed up with that night kinda fell by the wayside in my mind, with the exception of Halifax hotshot Pau Cram, who also really shocked and awed, but now I’m getting off the subject…. Back on topic, Josh Zubot, heard here, or his brother Jesse for that matter, both absolute maniacs on violin, are two of the precious few who might stand a chance of holding their ground in the face of this level of imaginative playing. Rounding out the trio, Isaiah Cecarelli really blew me away at a set with Fred Frith here in Montreal a few years back. Needless to say, high expectations, high expectations.
Those expectations are well met and generously surpassed in the alien soundscapes the group lays down here. Truthfully, I can’t really give credit where credit’s due, because it takes a better ear than mine to even guess at who’s doing what or how the hell they’re making it happen. Yes, these players are some of Canada’s foremost practitioners of extended technique and as a guitar player myself I sat with jaw-dropped for most of the night at that Bernard Falaise performance. As such, yes, it’s hard to know what”s is going on here half the time – but damn doesn’t it make for exciting listening.
Kudos too go out to Fred Boudreault for a bloody beautiful recording. The violin sounds unbelievable. It’s hard to judge the other instruments relative to anything else, given how totally foreign the drums and guitar sound in this case, but the sum total is a really great sounding record at any rate.
Fans of experimental improvisation will really dig this. It’s cutting edge stuff at it’s best, and where sometimes the more avant stuff in this genre can lose sight of musicality in the relentless pursuit of experimentation, this doesn’t – it’s beautiful, moody, dramatic, and a thoroughly enjoyable listen.