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Review

Richard di Santo, Incursion Music Review, May 28, 2001

Two musicians living in Nova Scotia collaborate and release their first CD together on Dérapages à cordes. Both Arthur Bull and Daniel Heïkalo are accomplished improvisers and guitarists, and they have each worked in diverse musical environments. This disc is a recording of a free improvisation, without any editing or overdubs, in eight movements/tracks. Bull takes on the semi-acoustic, slide, ebow and prepared guitars, while Heïkalo handles acoustic, classical and prepared guitars as well as cittern, percussion and bizarre vocalisations (gibberish chanting) in one of the tracks. Their collaboration is a strange blend of styles, moods, and suggestions. Hints of classical motifs blend with blues-grass suggestions and the more dominant abstract textures both harsh and subtle. The pieces are teeming with activity and creative energy, a stream of energy which it seems could never be spent, and it’s a relative joy listening to these inspired performances. A number of surprising moments and a wealth of details keep me on my toes throughout playback; bursts of percussion, scrapings, and harsh strikes on the guitars are effectively juxtaposed with approximations of melody and traditional playing. There’s never a dull moment here, though I’ll admit that on occasion it may be difficult to discern any method to the madness. This will definitely appeal to fans of the more esoteric and challenging releases on the Ambiances Magnétiques label.

There’s never a dull moment here…

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