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Friday, August 2, 2013

Secret Keeper - Super 8 (Intakt, 2013) ****

By Paul Acquaro

Mary Halvorson and Stephen Crump's guitar and bass duo release Super 8 is all about atmosphere. Thoughts of Frisell come easily to mind in the opening moments of 'Moom Song', a minimalist musical painting, but they soon dissipate as the deeply unique and personal musical conversation of Secret Keeper reveals itself.

Halvorson, whose singular approach to the guitar and composition has been extolled on these virtual pages many times before, employs her unique approach here as well. Crump's bass is a delightful foil, equally supportive and driving, and as a conversationalist, he's quite a good listener. His bowing and plucking adds movement and also anchors Halvorson's unexpected intervals and slippery pitches.

Some of my favorite tracks include the buoyant, but only a minute long, 'Winds me to Pieces' and the insistent almost 10 minute 'Toothsea'. Unusual melodic ideas and agitated rhythms seem perfectly logical in thier context.  'Night Light' illuminates this perfectly. As the song progresses the interactions become more intense, the bass notes fit perfectly between the guitarist's rapidly dispersed lines.

The sound flows naturally for this creative and engaging duet.