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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Natsuki Tamura & Alexander Frangenheim - Nax (Creative Sources, 2014) ****

By Stef

The faint of heart need to be warned. This is not for you.

Japanese trumpet-player Natsuki Tamura and German bassist Alexander Frangenheim both master their instruments and several musical genres, but here they venture deep into unknown territory. Not necessarily new to them, because Frangenheim is known for his adventurous spirit - as on his solo album "The Knife Again" - and so is Tamura of course.

Tamura and Frangenheim create a strong and intense, fierce and uncompromising dialogue between two instruments, with the trumpet sounding like you've rarely heard a trumpet, animal-like, zombie-like (as in "The Walking Dead"), but most of all human, unleashing deep emotions in shouts and howls and shrieks full of agony and fear, but then of the trembling kind, when the air in the windpipe get suppressed by paralysing emotions, or with a closed mouth because of teeth clenched out of painful muscular tension. And Frangenheim's bass is maybe less in the forefront, yet especially in the pizzi parts, the level of unease and dread are reinforced.

But then suprisingly, somewhere in the middle of "Acun 4", bass and trumpet sound as you would expect, with clarity of tone both, a surprising moment of release and relief, yet with. "Acun 5", which sounds like the twitterings of animals in a birdcage, they're back in into the unknown, and it's fascinating to listen to for the glorious interaction and organic interplay.

The whole album is acoustic, and that's even an essential aspect of it, because both artists share and use the physicality of their instrument and its sound possibilities to perfection. This tangible and muscular work on the creation of sound, even noise, brings a deep authentic reality to life, one which most music can only dream of.