(Creative Sources)

In spite of its conciseness — just over 39 minutes — I will not hesitate in placing Live At Zoom In among the finest improvisational sets heard in recent years. Recorded in Bern on October 21, 2017, the meeting of violist Frantz Loriot and cellist Theresa Wong (the latter also utilizing her voice in transmundane simultaneousness with the instrument) encompasses several key components relative to the act of conceiving outstanding music on the spot. Two naked souls facing an audience focused on every slight move (and, judging by the hush during the performance, particularly receptive to the sonic outcome).

Concerning the musicians’ technical background, both are evidently capable of stressing particles of wood and strings as if they were sight-reading a score drawn upon mysterious physical laws. We could spend hours trying to represent, in empty words, the acoustic typologies proffered by Wong and Loriot, who take advantage of everything in between silence, microsound and (more or less harsh) dissonance, in sensible alternance with sturdier pitches and percussive use of the instrument’s various parts. The duo’s ability to turn the resonance of awkward counterpoints into a psyche-enhancing wholeness is rather uncommon; a few segments caused this reviewer to literally fall into a trance, conflicting partials and divergent gestures notwithstanding.

Indeed, what’s crucial in such a situation is understanding a player’s level of disengagement from the neighboring reality. One’s mind doesn’t picture the pair as “human sources” of sound. Instead, the sound itself appears to materialize autonomously in unpredictable spurts, emerging from unusual corners of the listener’s perspective, clotting or spreading out depending on a given juncture. We gradually join a near-metaphysical ritual of disintegration of logical meanings, a communion of connected beings intent on generating a silent yet quivering form of love. It’s a reticent presence, never really fighting to claim attention. But it ultimately affects our very depths.