When one thinks of “improvised music”, it’s usually either groovin’ jam bands or ecstatically caterwauling saxophones. This is neither. H&H have created a delicate chamber music that is understated and intense, beautiful and edgy, nostalgic and of the present (and yes, classical musicians such as Ms. Hahn can “make up stuff” like musicians who do other genres). This is another landmark album (along with Evelyn Glennie’s work with Fred Frith) of classical and post-rock musicians working together, “making up stuff” that is greater than the sum of its parts.
German post-rock (to stretch a point) composer and American classical violinist Hahn went to Iceland and brought back this collaboration, to my ears the best thing either of them has recorded so far in their careers (I am a fan of Haushka's from way back but much less so of Hahn, despite her love of Bach).
The gap between the grand classical tradition and modern composition is a wide one and very few have bridged it successfully. Fortunately these two have no such ambition and instead work the fertile ground in between.
It's a bit more than minimalist, a lot more than pop, far too systematic for modern jazz and it works very well.
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