Review

Deciduous vs Conifer (aka AC vs DC) - leaves and needles

Foxy Digitalis

Deciduous vs Conifer is the quiet, non-electronically enhanced improvising trio of Joe Tunis (Carbon Records, Joe+N), Chris Reeg (Blood and Bone Orchestra) and R. Scott Oliver. The three employ a wide variety of instrumentation across the two extended tracks; one can hear various percussive instruments, bowed string instruments, bowls, whistles, and any other sound producing device that is ready available without requiring electricity.

The most successful aspect of these two works is how well the space is activated with their array of instrumentation. The incorporation of silence and subtle sounds demand the listener's attention, while an occasional louder groove does arise, it is in these tinier aspects that the group really shines allowing plenty of breathing space while weaving intricate layers in and out of one another.

The first of the two untitled tracks has a slightly jazzier feel especially towards the end where a very free and heady groove develops between the stand-up bass and drums. This brings a feeling of resolution to the heavy instrumental tension and silent interludes found in the beginning. The second track is a bit more out there with the heavy use of chimes, bowed strings and even a beautiful meleodica duo; this is the set where the trio can be found at their absolute peak with a focus on tension, texture and the subtle building and decay of sound.

Where this work becomes extremely interesting is in the live context as the trio plays at a level in which the audience is forced to be extremely mindful of the sounds they make. Even the subtle shifts of ones body in the chair makes quite a racket during a performance with a very attentive and engaged audience. This aspect of the work does make itself somewhat evident in the recording as the audience is occasionally heard as a part of the recording, especially towards the beginning of each track, but unfortunately the real thing can only be experienced in the flesh. Regardless of my good fortune of experiencing Deciduous vs. Conifer live, I do have to say that this is exciting and vibrant recording full of wonderful textures and sounds. The disc is also wonderfully housed in a plastic sleeve attached to a laser-cut wood panel. 9/10 -- Cory Card (7 August, 2007)



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