AMN Reviews: Claire Rousay – Live (2021; American Dreams Records)

Live is a 24-minute guided improvosation from experimentalist Claire Rousay in collaboration with visual artist Dani Toral. The single piece, Untitled 2, follows a video exposition and features Mari Maurice on violin and objects and Henna Chou on cello and electronics. The instruments performed by Rousay are not specified but are likely object-based percussion and maybe keyboard and guitar as well.

Live is something of a departure from Rousay’s recent work, though such deviations are not that surprising for anyone familiar with her many releases. The track centers around an evolving drone, with patterns and textures offered up on violin and cello. Percussion is sparse and complementary, as are field recordings. Extended techniques abound, but are not presented in a jarring or aggressive fashion. The pacing is slow and deliberate, while the mood is both hopeful and melancholy. Toward the three-quarter mark, the piece picks up the pace for a while with discordant weaving of notes before falling apart into accompaniment of a spoken-word passage. There is a more open-ended and quiet moment before the performance ends, breathily reminiscent of Rousay’s sparser offerings.