By some bizarre astral coincidence, musicians appear whose creative brilliance is so deeply anchored in an indescribable singularity, that trying to categorize them turns into yet another exercise in absurdity. This is the case with Jon Rose, a figure who is significantly disconcerting to ears encrusted with excessive consonance. People who, like Rose, swim in the perilous waters of microtonality are well aware that they are referring to matters pertaining to unexplainable vibrational rules of the cosmos, rather than solely a human audience.
Rose's violins, which include here a tenor and a Hardanger tenor in addition to the "regular" one, possess distinctive timbres that Chris Abrahams manages to complement quite comfortably, despite the inherent limitations of a Steinway piano tuned in accordance with the needs of equal temperament; not necessarily by developing elaborate preparations, instead by letting his own inspiration take the lead. Abrahams' approach privileges quick scales, deftly percussive atonalism and arpeggiated clusters, plus sudden plunges into a sea that is tensely resonant and utterly immersive for both the partner's instrument and us, the listeners.
Without further wasting your valuable time with pathetic event-for-event representations that would leave the reader acknowledging little to nothing, be alerted that the six tracks on Peggy — named after the Sydney premises where the album was recorded, the Peggy Glanville-Hicks House — constitute, in a sense, the ideal harmonic nexus of improvisatory realms that are distinct in principle but unarguably share such functional similarities that they can provide flashes of the purest acoustic art. Accordingly, the duo often succeeds in putting us in the middle of an abnormal poetry made up of small eruptions, peculiar junctures, and occasional surprise openings to a crooked-mouthed serenity.
Notwithstanding Rose's use of scordatura, now and then causing the counterpoint to oscillate across the innocently uneducated disquiet of those who require "resolutions", the two interact flawlessly, finally forming an organic interface through combinations that make it reductive to refer to as "complicated". "Probably not for everybody, but the real innovators seldom are", the label's introduction says. Especially when sheer virtuosity and speed of reasoning replace the desperate search for a so-called guiding voice.
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