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The duo of late bassist Peter Kowald and inside-and-out pianist Agusti Fernandez in a set of extraordinary energetical, rhythmic and irrepressible improvisations.

Fernandez, Agusti & Peter Kowald
Sea of Lead

Fernandez, Agusti & Peter Kowald : Sea of Lead (Hopscotch Records)
Label: Hopscotch Records    
Released in: USA    

"More than three years have passed by since bassist Peter Kowald passed away but there's been no shortage of new Kowald product (to coin a rather vulgar term) on the market since; Sea Of Lead is his third appearance on Hopscotch, after Deal, Ideas and Ideals (with Assif Tsahar and Rashied Ali) and Ma: Live at the Fundacio Juan Miro (with Tsahar and Sunny Murray). This time Tsahar isn't on the bill, and there's no drummer, but that doesn't mean there's no percussion. Agusti Fernandez's work both on and inside the piano remind us that it's first and foremost a percussion instrument, and David Casamitjana's recording made at Barcelona's Estudi 84 on June 27th 2000 is quite superb. Goodness knows where he put his mics, but they certainly were at the heart of the action: Fernandez's prepared piano shrieks and clangs sound dangerously close, and Kowald's pizzicato has rarely sounded so full and rich - Charlie Haden eat your heart out.

Elsewhere, his low-register bowed work growls like a lion (though I'll admit I've never been much of a fan of the sub-bass Tuvan horror movie vocals). It's easy to forget that despite his reputation for monster solo sets of extraordinary stamina - the last time I saw him he played non-stop for 80 minutes - Kowald was also capable of great restraint and used space and silence to great effect, and in Fernandez he found the ideal partner. Even so, the most impressive tracks are the ones where both men go nuts, especially "Rhizomes" (yeah, rhizomes were all the rage back in 2000, remember?), which pits Ligeti-like ostinati against Kowald's maniacal arco scrabbling, and "Tendrils", on which the bassist wisely sits on a low rolling groove and lets Fernandez turn out the kind of solo pianists dream of. Shame it ends rather abruptly. But you could say that of Peter Kowald's life, too. However, given the man's enormous appetite for work, it's a fair bet that there are plenty of hours of unreleased Kowald languishing on hard drives across the world. If they're all as good as this, it looks as if the Kowald discography is set to go on increasing for quite a while to come."-Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

See all items in the Hopscotch Records category

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Hopscotch Records
Duo Recordings

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Price: $14.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 2.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

Label: Hopscotch Records
Catalog ID: HOP 17
Squidco Product Code: 5445

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2005
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve

Agusti Fernandez-piano, prepared piano

Peter Kowald-double bass

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Track Listing:

1. Sea Of Lead Part I 5:08

2. Sea Of Lead Part II 2:23

3. Sea Of Lead Part III 2:34

4. Sea Of Lead Part IV 3:07

5. Sea Of Lead Part V 4:08

6. Sea Of Lead Part VI 5:14

7. Sea Of Lead Part VII 2:46

8. Rhizomes 4:53

9. Tendrils 4:35

10. Three Voices 2:50

11. Kowald's Dream 3:21