The delicate, intimate and compelling Indian Summer, by the guitar/bass duo of Tomas Sauter and Daniel Schlaeppi, is a most welcome release in these closing days of summer. The very sound of the recording is sensuous and surprisingly live, given it's a studio effort. Special care was taken in every step of the process, starting with the recording by Benoit Piccand in Switzerland and ending with the mixing and mastering by Jan Erik Kongshaug at Rainbow Studios (of ECM fame) in Oslo, Norway.
Playing totally acoustic with only a few overdubs, Sauter and Schlaeppi create an atmosphere full of spontaneity, love of life, and the joy of making music. They are playing just for you, and together they play with a single musical mind that truly lightens the heart. As John Abercrombie is quoted in the liner notes as saying, "Not only is the playing great, but the recorded sound of the instruments makes it a pleasure to listen to. I hope to many times."
The compositions, mostly by Sauter, plus one by Rodgers and Hart ("I Didn't Know What Time It Was") and two short freer pieces, have a vaguely American feel. There are intimations of Big Sky, some country and blues licks, but mostly the music manages to convey openness, simplicity and generosity of spirit. There is not one shred of cynicism, pseudo-hipness or fake coolness here, despite the sometimes intricate harmony and melody lines.
Perhaps it is the unamplified acoustic (nylon and steel-string) guitar played with the fingers, and the equally natural bass sound. Perhaps it is the truly amazing total empathy that Sauter and Schlaeppi have, the way they pass the musical baton back and forth, or how they give the music such life. Perhaps it is the combination of the intimacy from just two instruments and the large sound stage that the recording produces. Perhaps it is the mixture of apparent precision with little slides and buzzes left in to be heard.
Whatever it is, this music is beguiling and seducing for every one of its seventy minutes. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Linien; Crosscountry; Flytoget; Sand; Dialogue I; Indian Summer; The Most Important Things Aren't Things; Leaving; 4000 Miles; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Lonely; Dialogue II; Resistance; Chill Out.
Personnel: Tomas Sauter: nylon, steel and baritone acoustic guitar; Daniel Schlaeppi: bass