By Stefan Wood
Syrinx Effect is a Seattle based improv group with just two members -- Kate Olson on soprano saxophone, and Naomi Siegel on trombone, with additional sounds both electronic and percussive. The 30 minute EP Snail Songs, released this past April, is a gorgeous work of art that is sonically and spiritually uplifting.
The high register of the soprano combined with the lower trombone create a delicate and rich sound, and adding some electronic effects give it an ethereal atmosphere. "Moon and Crab" opens the EP with a call and response like playing between the horn instruments, then slowing down to stretch the sound of each instrument, adding electronic sounds and echoing towards the end. Highlights for me are the tracks "Another Day of Rain," with a funky light tambourine beat, and Olson's playing that recalls Wayne Shorter (especially his recent work with string quartet), and "Flight Case," where a minute into the track Siegel begins a rolling bass rhythm and both musicians superimpose on top of that a wild menagerie of sounds, analogue and digital.
Part chamber music, part improvised, Snail Songs eschews easy categorization. Instead, the two artists have created a sound and a world that is all their own, and have provided the listener with a musical journey that is not only aurally stimulating, but life affirming. Outstanding!