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Monday, August 17, 2015

Weasel Walter & Chris Pitsiokos - Drawn and Quartered (2015) ****

By Paul Acquaro

So, the gauntlet has been thrown down on using the term 'extended techniques' (sort of), and I accept the challenge to not use it (maybe). Though such a useful phrase, I'll admit, it's a bit of a shortcut, it's a tad lazy, and it can end up maybe even reinforcing the notion that there is a 'right' way for an instrument to sound. Henceforth, I shall banish the word from my reviews, I will set autocorrect to deal with it.

Drawn and Quatered, a duo effort from saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos and percussionist Weasel Walter comes screaming to life, taking no prisoners in its embrace of extended techniques all the sounds that their instruments can afford. It is an energetic effort from the get go, and the duo uses every side, shape and sound they can to create an intense and interactive set of music.

The names of the tracks - 'Hanged', 'Drawn' and 'Quartered'  - do not suggest anything nice and the music lives up to this. It's brutal, it's bruising and at times it's beautiful. Pitsiokos is a force to be reckoned with - from piercing blasts to deep bellows, overblown passages to relaxed meditations. He is also an excellent match for percussionist Walter, whose work with Mary Halvorson, Nate Wooley, Yoni Kretzmer, Peter Evans, Nels Cline and others has been documented here on the blog. Walter, it seems, is a musician who can incorporate an endless array of objects to effectively extend his rhythmic ideas. The interaction between the two musicians is almost like a game of cat and mouse, with Walter mirroring the woodwind's bursts with fervor and Pitsiokos darting about the complex rhythms expertly. 

It's hard to say if there is a 'melody' or a 'tune' on this album, rather on these tracks there is an endless supply of ideas, starts, and endings that seem motivated by the moment rather than by a well-laid plan, and what we end up with a bountiful and bloodied cornucopia. This is a tremendously energetic duo and a highly recommended album that is simply brimming with ideas.


TRG said...

nice review.

Copies of this beast are available here: