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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

gabby fluke-mogul & Dave Rempis – LIP (Catalytic Sound, 2023)

By Matty Bannond

Not much beats the furtive joyride of an overheard conversation – especially if it serves up juicy gossip, spicy details and boiling tempers. Listeners get that buzz from LIP. It’s a colorful and flavorsome dishing session with two high-profile improvisers. Their intimate back-and-forth at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago during August 2022 was picked up by microphones. Now, we can all listen…

gabby fluke-mogul’s violin voices the record’s most melodic phrases. Dave Rempis takes a more percussive tone with his saxophone. The album features just one track and is available as a members-only download from Catalytic Sound. Membership provides a regular income for a collective of thirty artists, with the aim of helping modern musicians to overcome financial challenges.

The violin sound frequently reverberates like a saxophone, while the saxophone often adopts a trembling and violin-like character. This allows the two improvisers to overlap and underlap throughout the half-hour set. Listeners are given a clear sense of the experimental nature of the performance, with the artists taking turns to try things out or drop new ideas into the mixing bowl.

Passages of rising and falling tension suggest a collective respiration. Microphones catch a few grunts and groans from the performers as they strain to keep pushing deeper and further into the moment. The live show probably generated textures and tactile experiences for the people in the room. Those experiences do still carry weight in the recording, but with the sonic substrates sanded-down.

LIP is an intriguing dialog between two strong personalities. The dexterous and inventive interactions take unexpected turns that will keep listeners leaning forward. And there is plenty of juicy gossip, spicy details and boiling tempers too.

The album is available as a members-only digital download from Catalytic Sound here. It is listed as Catalytic Artist Album 056.