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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thomas Heberer & Pascal Niggenkemper - Miner's Pick (FMR, 2014) ****½

By Stef

I like the sound of the trumpet: its clear tone, its tonality and manifold shades and colors of sound, its possibility to soar and bring joy and reflect deep sadness, its extended possibilities. I like the bass: its depth and warmth and range, the sheer acoustic pleasure of a trembling string, its heartpiercing sadness when bowed, its extended possibilities. I like the dialogue of trumpet and bass, the mutual enhancement of brass and wood, the contrast and again the possibilities for dialogue.

I like Thomas Heberer, an incredibly gifted and creative musician whose restless mind offers new approaches with each album, best known from his participation in the Instant Composers Pool, yet whose own projects appeal even more to me. I like Pascal Niggenkemper, who like Heberer of German origin but one of the mainstays of New York avant-garde at the moment.

I like how they interacted before on trio or quartet albums, and I even like them more on this fantastic album, where the dialogues are intimate, challenging and beautiful, searching for sounds that resonate in the space, that elucidate similar responses for the other instrument, that support and co-create. Or to stay in the metaphor of the album and song titles : together they dig up sounds as yet unearthed : topaz, azurite, iron, rare earth metals, diabolite ... The interaction can be staccato, with short bursts, or lyrical, or even rhythmic at moments, like axes digging deep together. The element of surprise is always there, even if they must have used some agreed parts at time, unless this is sheer improvisational telepathics at work.

In any case, I love this album because it does what good music should be doing : it will enchant you, even if you are deep underground, digging for gold. Keep digging.


Steve N. said...

I love this record. With only two instruments, these guys take us on a trip through so many different musical landscapes. Amazing!