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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Xabier Iriondo & Gianni Mimmo - Your Very Eyes (Long Song Records, 2008) ***½

Without some interventions, in which Xabier Iriondo creates awful, ear- and brainsplitting high-pitched electronic noises over the otherwise great soprano sax of Gianni Mimmo, this album could have been excellent. It was recorded at the summer solstice in a 10th century church in Italy (what's this? a competition among avant-garde musicians to find the oldest church to play in?), leading to the typical hollow distant acoustics of the space it was recorded in. In essence, it is the sax that leads the music, all improvised, minimalistic and relatively accessible (but not always), with the guitar complementing the music with sounds that are usually not identifiable as coming from a guitar. John Butcher and Evan Parker come to mind, but also Lacy and Roscoe Mitchell. While most of the time Iriondo's guitar really contributes to the music, by offering depth, at other times his interventions are irritating, but luckily not too often. The album has its great moments, but its downsides too. A pitty.