(Ftarri)

The International Nothing is a clarinet partnership consisting of hypersensitive instrumentalists Michael Thieke and Kai Fagaschinski. Since the beginning, they have been experimenting with the quivering spaces between (mainly) calm and soft tones superimposed in the midst of utter stillness. The recommendation for moderate listening volume, and the fact that Just None of Those Things was recorded in Fagaschinski’s living room, confirm the artists’ attentiveness in that field of restrained investigation.

Rather interestingly, analogous projects recurrently generate different outcomes when heard through speakers versus headphones. Despite a “collectively composed” matrix and a reasonably homogeneous structure, the material features a diversification of timbral and dynamic nuances, provided that you’re not searching for dramatic extremes. It is clear that instant concepts are taking shape, as they manifest practically right away after the players have taken a few deep breaths and leave the clarinets to talk.

An invisible radiation is moved in a silent environment by contiguous pitches, partial oscillations, and some segment’s implicitly pulsing solutions. However, when headphones are on, those emanations can completely fill the ear canals and produce minute vibrations in the skull bone without being unduly loud. The most exquisite colors are defined by the palest hues, when the note is hardly audible and its outlines barely discernible. At these times, the subtle virtuosity of Fagaschinski and Thieke emerges unequivocally.

It is comforting to witness the acoustic conversation of two workmates who also value the opportunity to share knowledge and incorporate our individual aural perspective into their studies. Exactly as in the duo’s previous output, this disc offers music that appears minimalist on the surface yet contains intangible gems that are infused with inner peacefulness. It’s the sonic picture of a quiet place from which to project one’s own desire for a genuine improvement.

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