Michael Thieke & Olivier Toulemonde, Lucio Capece & Jamie Drouin: The Berlin Series no. 1
The Berlin Series no. 1 is a split CD which features two separate but highly compatible duos, each combining clarinet with less conventional musical sounds that provide an effective contrast. First up is "Inframince," a forty-three minute duo between German clarinetist Michael Thieke (maybe best known for his work alongside fellow clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski in The Magic I.D. and in the duo The International Nothing) and Toulemonde who plays acoustic objects. These are objects from everyday life; Toulemonde doesn't build anything or construct an instrument out of objects. Instead, he simply make noises with objects that he finds, such as whisks, bowls, plates, marbles, styrofoam, antennae, spinning-tops, springs, metal rods... In addition to the sounds that list may conjure up in the imagination, Toulemonde manages to generate a range of sounds which could just as easily have been made by percussion or electronics; most importantly, those sounds complement Thieke's clarinet but remain distinguishable from it, so that the two fit together seamlessly, and the means of production soon become of secondary importance compared to the pleasure of the listening experience the music gives. The track's forty-three minutes are easy to become submerged in, and pass by so effortlessly that, once they are done, the obvious course of action is to repeat the experience. Yes, mesmerising stuff.
The second track, "Immensity," is a worthy companion piece to its predecessor. It pairs the Argentinean bass clarinetist Lucio Capecea Berlin resident since 2004with analogue synthesiser played by Canada-born Jamie Drouin who, until 1999, was a visual artist. According to Drouin, such free movement between mediums, and collaborations across genres are typical of Berlin. As with Thieke and Toulemonde, the sounds produced work well together; the undulating rise and fall of Capece's sustained bass clarinet tones are offset by the white noise hiss and glitches that Drouin produces, creating a soundscape that evolves slowly without any nasty surprises but remains rich in detail and variety. The resulting album is an effective pairing of tracks which fit together well. On this showing, we must hope that this Berlin Series will run and run for a long time.
Track Listing: Inframince; Immensity.
Personnel: Michael Thieke: clarinet (1); Olivier Toulemonde: acoustic objects (1); Lucio Capece: bass clarinet and preparations (2); Jamie Drouin: analogue synthesiser and radio (2).
Record Label: Another Timbre