The German multi-instrumentalist free-improv, free-jazz master ALFRED 23 HARTH meets American electronic music pioneer CARL STONE live in Japan and Germany on this new album from Kendra Steiner Editions, “GIFT FIG” (KSE #207). Any album from either gentleman is always 1) an event and 2) totally different from the last album and from anything anyone else is doing. That’s what happening here in a series of almost telepathic live duos. It’s fitting that the title, GIFT FIG, is a palindrome because both Harth and Stone merge into one another and it’s hard to tell where one’s work begins and the other ends. Harth and Stone both echo the other, tease the other, finish the other’s lines, proceed along parallel paths like two teenagers drag racing on the outskirts of town and eventually heading toward each other in a game of chicken, but escaping danger in the final moment, causing our hearts to race. Harth was one of the first of musicians emerging from the late 60′s free-jazz/free-improv scene to embrace electronics, and Stone has been at the forefront of using electronics in a live setting for decades, improvising with the ease and flow of a Sam Rivers and the freshness and inside-out investigations of a Derek Bailey…in addition to being an important American electronic composer. Harth continues his work with extended techniques on the reed instruments, explored thoroughly in his first KSE release, Micro-Saxo-Phone. Edition III (KSE #175), and with Stone’s seemingly infinite inventory of sounds and his mirroring of Harth’s lines in chopped-and-channeled form, you may feel you are listening to a musical version of the shootout in the house of mirrors at the climax of Orson Welles’ film The Lady From Shanghai. For me, this is as significant and timeless an album as The Music Improvisation Company or Conference of the Birds.
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Link to Kendra Steiner Editions (KSE)