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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cold Voodoo - AB+ (Wide Ear, 2018) ***½

By Stef Gijssels

Last year, we reviewed "Orion" by Im Wald, a dark and somber album by a quintet of young musicians. We find Tobias Meier, the band's altoist, back in this wonderfully intimate duet with Silvan Jeger on bass.

The Swiss duo creates a warm, intimate dialogue on the "A+" side, that becomes intense and agitated as it progresses, but without ever raising the voice of the instruments, which remain within a narrow tonal mid-range, like a conversation among friends that intensifies and slows down again yet never stops, without breaks or pauses: both instruments play constantly.

The "B+" side is much harsher, with Jeger using his bow, and Meier screeching in a higher register, but again with the same intensity, but now with more power and energy, relentlessly. The sound is more one of indignation than anger, more one of surprise than determination, leaving the interplay evolve in a clear and focused way, gradually toning down to a sense of calm resignation, recreating the warm atmosphere of the first track, with whispering sax and plucked bass.

The band's name is reflected in the musical approach on the two sides of the audio cassette. The musicians themselves describe it as a tension between "the physical presence of exhaustion on the one hand and of an external perspective and serenity on the other". And it works. Voodoo or not, the effect is enchanting.

Listen and download from Bandcamp.