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Monday, February 28, 2022

DunkelpeK - Fire’s Hush (AKP Recordings, 2022) ****

By Keith Prosk

Nava Dunkelman and Jakob Pek play eight improvisations for percussion, guitar, and piano on the working duo’s 39’ debut, Fire’s Hush.

Some recorded reference points for Dunkelman include NOMON with sister Shayna, IMA with Amma Ateria, and collaborations with Fred Frith, including the first track of All Is Always Now. Outside of this duo, Pek’s recordings so far are most often solos for guitar and piano.

Most time is in subtle atmospheres shaped from diverse textures. An uncanny ability to coax colors from the kit, effervescent vibraphone, and a small gamelan of gongs, bells, bowls, and other objects pigment pointillistic hits and, beyond struck metal’s long decay, bowed vibraphone, fluted cymbals, and the groaning gyre of circular play parallel to the head provide a palette for sustained strokes. Guitar and piano are muted, transmuted - perhaps by preparations - to pop, squelch, wheeze, roar, spring like jaw harp, and at louder volumes its attack conveys gesture as much as anything musical. Most tracks coalesce into a groove, cascading melodies together, a free form freakout, a stalking rhythm, a country western anthem, illustrating how tense these textures can be in these grooves’ buoyancy. To dissolve again.