Christian Carey, Splendid E-Zine, 21 mars 2003

One of the most difficult tasks a composer can set for himself is to construct a solo work for a melodic, single line instrument. There are no chords and harmony to hide behind; there are no ensemble collaborators to engage in contrapuntal dialogue. The composer must endeavor to hold the listener’s interest with naught but the development of a single melodic line. For author and performer alike, this is some of the most exposed and naked music to present to the public — it is like walking the tightrope without a net beneath you. For an improviser like Lori Freedman, this must be even more so the case — not only is she up there alone, but she’s also trying to extemporize.

The Canadian clarinettist presents 13 improvised pieces here. Many of the works seem to have some affinity for the pointillistic and angular characteristics of avant-garde classical pieces like Stockhausen’s Amour (a 1976 set of pieces for solo clarinet). Others, like the bass clarinet solo Slappyspazzgruv, are imposing in an almost Eric Dolphy-esque grandeur, squalling and shredding a high melodic line almost to the point of disintegration. Freedman’s most distinguishing musical characteristic is her tendency to select a small cell of pitches as a central part of each piece (see ab). Rather than dealing with them in an ostinato/minimalist approach, she tends to use these fragments as a springboard for musical development, transforming seemingly limited pitch materials through transposition, inversion, registral displacement, and timbral effects such as microtones, rasps, and glissandi (the bending of pitches). From a minimal palette of material, Freedman creates a maximal amount of variety and invention.

… this is some of the most exposed and naked music to present to the public…