A set of eight improvisations from Henneman (viola), Branch (trumpet) and La Berge (flutes). Though the term 'folk songs' may be stretching things a bit, the selections do contain a couple of basic approaches. They begin quite well on 'Sauntering new roads', with layers of granular, sometimes guttural tones from trumpet and flute, some tonal plies from the viola seeping in, a faint voice; really a fine, restrained mix, nothing unessential. On "Gigging", the trio migrates into more standard, what one might call "post Art Ensemble" territory, Branch in particular evoking the spirit and sound of Lester Bowie. It's a very full, active approach, one where this listener would appreciate more listening and possibly laying out from various members, the individual contributions (here, Brand and La Berge) giving the impression of worthy of being heard on their own, in less crowded context. Still the piece works on its own merits.
"Stevens' dog", though more flowing, using held tones, retains something of an Art Ensemble sound, somewhat elegiac, with intense lines from all, cresting and falling in a very natural, unhurried cadence. Henneman opens up "When bells stop ringing" with an intriguing, iterative figure, dry and pressing. Again, it would have been nice to hear her develop this a bit on her own, but very quickly a rapidly sputtering flute and swiftly probing trumpet enter, more or less complimenting the initial mood a bit too readily, crowding the space rather than opening it up, though the nine-minute tracks finds its way to a lovely ending involving soft whistles. These two attacks seem to jostle for position throughout, a condition that might frustrate some listeners while proving an aspect of attraction and interest for others. Definitely worth checking out.
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