Domenico Sciajno / Gene Coleman
Kim Cascone / Domenico Sciajno
Three studio tracks and a live segment offer complementary perspectives on real-time improvisation, the outcome at once logical and – yes, it’s an over-used adjective – organic. Sciajno (Max/MSP-cum-processing) and Coleman (bass clarinet) have been collaborating for several years now, yet Diospyros is the first disc they’ve recorded together. The initial impression is one of extreme meticulousness. Coleman strives for total control, cuts and slices, unseams and destroys, incessantly hunting the ultimate atonal snippet for remorseless extension and metamorphosis, his spectacular timbral panache obliterating whatever hint of kindness the instrument might have left inside. Sciajno’s treatments clone, reduce and lyophilize his comrade’s playing into a bunch of miniature mad scientists. His wobbly fluctuations, disabled harmonies and resonant waves wrap Coleman’s inventions with a fine mantle of alien charm. The final track, the splendid “Chloroxylon”, is the perfect synthesis of their approaches: the clarinetist finally succumbs to tranquil meditation, prompting him and Sciajno to reflect (with mild-mannered subversiveness) on the possibilities of droning themselves out of humdrum existence.
Cascone and Sciajno’s previous record, A Book of Standard Equinoxes on (1.8)sec, was released about three years ago. This second chapter in their collaboration is a live recording from a 2008 show in Palermo, which was left untouched, without post-production or editing. They demonstrate a fine ability to manage instantaneous events, often letting raucous intrusion emerge from reasonably static foundations and savouring the exhilaration of a more violent unruliness. At times the disquieting elements cohere uneasily, but on “Cleistogamia” they completely fuse with the music’s laptop-generated lattice. The 21-minute marathon opener “Satyrium” might, despite its underground disturbances, induce dark ambient aficionados to entertain hopes of arcane entrancement, but the sudden dynamic shifts and noncompliant emissions on the remainder of the album will cause incense sticks to burn faster and detune “bought-on-my-last-holiday” monochords. The music is a peculiar blend of acousmatic intolerance and detailed investigation by two expert manipulators who seem determined to keep the listener at bay. The technical expertise, notably on the final “Glove Box”, keeps the record well above average, but Cascone and Sciajno’s best work is still found on their separate releases.