Relative Pitch

The debut outing from this new American label promises great things to come. Modifying a famous Buñuel movie title to identify the duo’s implied “main theme” (human greed and its relative consequences), blue-collar wind virtuoso Greenlief offers intriguing perspectives and incisive methods to complement the larger-than-life personality of bassist Léandre. There are no frills here, and what’s apparent even on a first listen is the non-oratorical character of the music as it unfolds in a series of “variations”, an all-embracing report from two artists who share several biting points of view. Greenlief zigzags around Léandre’s timbral stoutness like a mosquito out to sabotage a quiet picnic; the French anti-diva responds with nervous swats, upper-partial gnarls and ominous crackles only partially sweetened by her renowned arco passages to the majestic peaks of droning impenetrability. When they decide to exhale a little longer, we’re treated to contrapuntal stability bathed in negative foreshadowing, vocal utterances deprived of joviality confirming a shared vision, cogent and pessimistic. After all, it’s human beings we’re talking about.

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