Recorded in Buenos Aires in the first half of this year, Ritual is the second collaboration between pianist/percussionist Ana Foutel and multi-instrumentalist Edgardo Palotta. That the recording was made live with both musicians present wouldn’t under ordinary circumstances be remarkable, but during the time of COVID it represents an almost defiant assertion of the durability of human connections.
That connection is amply demonstrated by the sure-footed acoustic music the two recorded. Foutel and Palotta explore a spectrum of improvisational possibilities ranging from melodic duets to confrontations of abstract sounds. The very first track, for example, introduces the set with Palotta’s stentorian but ultimately mellifluous reedwork, which robustly overlays Foutel’s elegant pianism. By contrast, a track like Acá no nieva moves smoothly from pitch-based to unpitched sounds, with Palotta’s Indian flute providing the pivot. In addition to Indian flute, Palotta plays bass clarinet, clarinet, and pizzicato double bass. On the three tracks featuring the latter instrument, Palotta sets out slowly varying, repeated figures that Foutel picks up on piano and transforms through variations of her own.