Review: Violeta García & Émilie Girard-Charest – Impermanence (Inexhaustible Editions, Jun 1)

0025076814_10When choosing a title for an audio document of improvised music, you really can’t go wrong with Impermanence; it’s not exactly original, in terms of either the specific genre or music as a whole, but it will never not be accurate. In the case of Violeta García (a cofounder of the splendid TVL Rec imprint) and Émilie Girard-Charest’s first meeting as a duo, the word accumulates a more unique meaning because of the two musicians’ chosen instruments. Cellos are often associated with their ability to emit sustained, “eternal” tones, and are utilized as such in anything from acoustic drone music old and new to traditional classical and chamber accompaniments. But in García’s and Girard-Charest’s hands they frequently become anything but eternal, instead acting as boundless surfaces for all sorts of extended technique scrabble, auxiliary object play, short stilted bowings, and barely-there below-the-bridge vapors. Despite the differences between the two artists’ careers (García operates almost entirely within improvisational contexts, while Girard-Charest primarily performs solo and ensemble compositions) their musical interplay is superb; some of the best moments of their interactions surface when both take a step back from volume and intensity and deal in quiet timbral harmonies of scrape and rustle, but the louder stretches are excellent too, especially the high-octane tense trills and punchy pizzicato plunks of segment III—which in turn dissolve into and rematerialize from their own forms of sonic reticence. And the near-apocalyptic resin-shredding of V is simply breathtaking. To think that my first reaction when I found this release was, Two cellos? Yeah, right.

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