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Monday, February 23, 2015

Ross Hammond & Catherine Sikora – Perfect Plasticity (Gold Lion Arts, 2015) ****½

By Chris Haines

Released this month by Gold Lion Arts this live recording is a cassette only release and is limited to 50 copies only.  Recorded at the arts centre in Sacramento this duo recording documents the talents of Ross Hammond (electric & acoustic guitar) and Catherine Sikora (tenor saxophone).

Perfect Plasticity is a great little set containing four improvised pieces of varying length.  The music the duo offers gracefully moves between bold approaches where melodic lines freely interweave with one another whilst individually vying for prominence and the more delicate attentive playing of lead lines and accompaniments.  A variety of textures and sounds keep the momentum of the music driving forward with more contemplative sections mixing in with knotty and twisted lines.  The space afforded to each other at times is also worth a mention, with either musician allowing the other to come to the fore, which provides a good contrast in the foreground sound.  Sikora’s melodies float along in a freely associative way whilst Hammond can be found providing equally writhing lines to match or considered chordal voicings that provide a decorous counter balance.  In fact, each musician uses a wide variety of compositional tools but in a natural and spontaneous way allowing the music to develop instinctively from within the dyadic relationship.

The two musicians have really provided us with a treat on this recording and I highly recommend getting hold of this one.  The cassettes can be purchased direct from Gold Lion Arts, but hurry, as they won’t last long!