AMN Reviews: Neil Davidson & Michael Duch – Oera [cw 15]

This new release from the UK label Consumer Waste features four untitled improvisations from Glasgow guitarist Neil Davidson and Norwegian double bassist Michael Duch. Although unusual on the face of it, the combination of mostly bowed acoustic guitar with a likewise mostly bowed double bass is a felicitous one. The four tracks, although differing from each other in sometimes significant ways, have in common an architecture constructed of overlapping planes joined or separated by varying rhythmic patterns. This comes out most clearly in the third track, in which staggered arpeggios on the guitar form the ground for irregularly placed bowed lines from the bass; the superimposition of variably phrased parts makes for gradually shifting patterns of rhythmic repetition. By contrast, the fourth track sets out a regular pulse by way of Duch’s spiccato bowing; Davidson’s bowed guitar creates a chime-like wash of sound on top, the timbre of which complements and contrasts with the bass by turns as the bow moves toward and away from the bridge. The long first track reverses these functions as the bowed guitar provides the pulse, while a drone in the bass sets up harmonic interference patterns between the two instruments. The second track is an interesting essay on timbre, featuring Duch’s flautando bowing over Davidson’s chords.

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