Thursday, June 2, 2016

T.J. Borden / Kyle Motl, Consensual Fault

When the players are mutually attuned and well-versed in their art, the cello and acoustic bass duet can be something special. We get that on the CD Consensual Fault (self-released)--with cellist T.J. Borden and bassist Kyle Motl freely improvising together. There is a natural affinity of cello and contrabass in their family lineage and the warm range of lower tones (and range of harmonics) they both can sound as a matter of course. That affinity is in the forefront on the album at hand.

When it comes to these reviews one might recall the adage "many are called, few are chosen." Or is it the reverse?! At any rate the new music/free jazz improv sort of duo here may not be for everyone. You the reader are naturally self-selecting in the end. You either are open to various possibilities or you are not. Or you really don't know what to think! Or you are an intrepid explorer, unafraid to go where few have gone before, or relatively few, anyway, and so you try different things. All that is your business.

So I will tell you what you can expect from this recording, why I find it quite good, and you of course can make up your mind.

Both avant garde classical new music and jazz from its inception and on into its more avant evolving have been of two minds in terms of technique. There of course is the standard way to play an instrument at any given point in time, what unfortunately has sometimes been called the "legit" manner. And then there are a nearly infinite number of special ways to color the sound--a great jazz player will develop various personal ways to express the music, and so new music has often called for musicians to sound their instrument in unconventional ways.

Borden and Motl are artists who have developed a wide vocabulary of these extended techniques and give us in three extended improvisations a dialog that cross-references a full gamut of sounds. It is in the way the two artists intermingle a blend of ever-varying sound color possibilities and the sequencing of such utterances that this recording stands out.

They create dual constellations of experimental and expressive soundings throughout. The ideal listener opens up to the interplay of the intersecting constellations and lingers on the sensual properties of the totality. That is the point of this music. Borden and Motl engage in a well-expressed and varied palette of sound worlds, making full use of the timbral familial relations of the cello and contrabass and creating always interesting blends from the available sounds. And to the "trained" ear in such things it is a stimulating and very successful musical journey.

So I definitely recommend it to you!

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