Guitar improvisations backed with light electronic touches, played with absolute attention to the potency of space and silence. For 20 minutes, Tetuzi Akiyama and Jeff Gburek converse, their back-and-forth on acoustic, prepared, and slide guitar exploring tone, texture, and the pure expression of the moment. Being improvised, there is always that air of controlled randomness, of hovering at the edge of uncertainty, and the four pieces here do occasionally drift into slight cacophony. What saves those moments, for me, is the duo’s ability to not only keep within their framework, but to readily pull back out of it into a more traditionally focused form. The balance of harmony and dissonance tends to lean in favor of the latter, but not egregiously so. It’s an equation that demonstrates how we only really know the simplicity of the one against the challenge of the other, with the added lesson of how we perceive space in music, how it can heighten our attention to the moment. So, yes, Respect will play better when it falls upon ears that embrace the role of dissonance and non-standard structure, ears that are willing to try to accept the truth and rawness of expression found here. While Akiyama and Gburek flirted with losing me in spots, mostly on the second part, there was something here that made me stay, and I’m glad I did.
Available from Spectropol.