New York violinist gabby fluke-mogul is unabashedly experimental on this solo album recorded last summer. Employing extended techniques (rubbing, scraping, sawing, tapping), they extract a full spectrum of unconventional sounds from this conventional instrument. Coupled with occasional vocals, threshold is an exhilarating ride.
fluke-mogul plucks and bows through six improvisations from 4 to 11 minutes in length. Their ability to load a track with notes – both straight and twisted – is exhibited in the opener, teeth, which features what could best be described as manually-played “violin effects” interspersed with rapid runs, short motifs, and chants. They do not eschew subtlety but instead use quieter, breathier portions of each track to serve as a counterbalance to the outside sections.
And the playing is indeed aggressive, though not in a physical sense. Instead, the forcefulness is in how fluke-mogul challenges the listener to expand their conception of what sounds and structures their instrument can generate. An example of this is kairos, in which slow bowing creates both jagged, gritty discordance as well as hushed passages and even a few less radical moments. In contrast, bruises is over the top and intense.
Suffice it to say that threshold is an extreme album, but read that in a good way. It is thoroughly enjoyable in its unorthodoxy and receives a strong recommendation as a result.