Having spent a whole week without any relevant music, head saturated by the deleterious fumes of serious issues, I decided to restart activities by playing this CD. It was a fortunate choice, though not generating the same exultance that follows the unearthing of a memorable milestone. Still, the mixture of crepuscular light, technical adroitness and lack of bombast characterizing this duet between Crispell (piano, soundboard, percussion) and Rothenberg (clarinet and bass clarinet) is a relieving experience, giving a listener the chance to observe a sound world where all that happens is clearly detailed, the intention of experimenting unusual combinations often defeated by a proper fondness for significant melodic materials. Not a surprise, given Rothenberg’s interest for the singing of birds, which he studied in depth and wrote exhaustively about.
Crispell is the pair’s slightly wilder card, occasionally trying to push the interplay away from the canons of restfulness through unswervingly articulate runs which finely contrast her partner’s predilection for a logical linearity, thickness and texture of each pitch, exalted by the label’s typical cleanliness in the recording process. However the really precious episodes — such as the impressive “Companion: Silence”, the subsequent “Owl Moon” and the conclusive “Evocation” — are born from the couple’s innate lyricism. When Crispell lays down rarefied chords and minimal arpeggios disclosing a profound sense of harmonic entirety, seemingly in a communion with some of the universe’s invisible forces of peace, Rothenberg joins the colleague by choosing two or three notes, suggesting patterns, looking at them fly around like a falcon always coming back to the trainer’s arm, a sublime aura of restrained passion surrounding the picture.