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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christoph Erb / Frantz Loriot - Sceneries (Creative Sources, 2016) ***½

By Eyal Hareuveni

The duo of Swiss sax player Christoph Erb and French-Japanese, Switzerland-based viola player Frantz Loriot is focused on investigating sound and timbral qualities and experimenting with extended techniques. Erb is known for his continuous collaboration with Chicagoan cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. Loriot leads the Systematic Distortion Orchestra and Notebook Large Ensemble and member of the Baloni trio, Joachim Badenhorst's Carate Urio Orchestra and Pascal Niggenkemper's Vision7.  Their duo debut album was recorded in May 2015.

Sceneries offers five free-improvisations, each employs a different strategy and a distinct atmosphere. The opening “Aurore” is the most sparse and intimate one, Balancing between Erb multiphonic, bird-calls on one channel while Loriot experiments with light plucks and percussive bow touches and on the viola on the other channel. On the following “Floating in a Tempest”, Erb insistent circular breathing is charged with a surprising melodic vein while Loriot intensifies it with repetitive, spiraling lines. “Annoyed Hibernation” and “Tincture” are the most experimental improvisations here. Erb and Loriot investigate extended breathing and bowing techniques that map the timbral spectrum of the saxophone and the viola as an abstract sound generators, all with great focus and detail, arresting sense of invention, weird kind of playfulness and super-fast interplay. Erb and Loriot conclude this impressive journey with the “Egress”. Erb alternates between tongue-slaps and breathy drones and overtones while Loriot confronts him with delicate percussive touches of the bow.