Having read nothing on the origin of this double CD before listening to it, I was amazed to learn that the two sets in Face To Face represent the first encounters between Urs Leimgruber (soprano and tenor sax) and Jean-Marc Foussat (AKS synthesizer, voice). The conceptual coherence emanating from the vivid acoustic abstractionism of these improvisations suggests a long-standing collaboration. Whatever one wants to think, though, the duo provides us with high-level music in terms of on-the-spot imagery and intellectual response to what is heard.
Both in “Rive De Réves” and “Luxerna”, respectively taped in Zürich and Lucerne, Leimgruber and Foussat indicate from the very beginning to be sufficiently trained in the demolition of the standard implications of a musical compound. Avoiding excessive pleasantries, the musicians launch themselves into instant timbral researching without a net, initially testing the ground through more introverted explorations, then connecting and superimposing multiform apparitions whose dynamic and emotional intensities become impressive more than once.
Several surprises — in the form of strange loops, ghost voices, concrete samples even including a dog barking insistently, magnificent electronic deformities — are always around the corner as far as Foussat’s contribution is concerned. On the other hand, Leimgruber expresses an absolutely human desire to get to know his interlocutor in depth and interact proactively, as he attempts to weave the meaning of his phrasings into the comrade’s bizarre electroacoustic patchworks. Occasionally the saxophone echoes sinisterly, then squeaks and shouts, asking hard questions to the listener. The latter remains suspended between the rather ironic, but never really reassuring temperament of long segments of the interplay, and the feeling of being right in the midst of a bad dream, albeit studded with transfixing sounds emerging from nowhere.