Helix LX 017

Proving that two and two can sometimes add up to five is Oeure-Glace, almost 76 minutes of pure and reconciled improvisations. A chance intersection of two sets of Lille-based musicians, Adoct, joins members of the TOC trio of drummer Peter Orins, pianist Jérémie Ternoy and guitarist Ivann Cruz with the duo of pianist Barbara Dang and Sakina Abdou, playing alto saxophone and alto recorder.

Notwithstanding that tracks are mostly atmospheric and evolve at a leisurely pace, two pianos allows for augmented judicious or jarring keyboard patterns. One pianist chimes keys and creates singular clips and cascading runs that intersect with guitar string frails for positioned lyricism. Meanwhile the other stops keys, plucks internal strings and vibrates implements on top of the string set, which vibrate alongside the drummer’s subtle rumbles, rustles and clacks., Intermittently interjecting split tones, peeps or puffs from either of her horns, Abdou makes her presence felt when vital.

Crisp recording means that Orins doesn’t strain when injecting rim echoes or wood block pops into the mix. These join with thin reed trills on the title track, roughing in the narrative outline that’s shaded and shaped by subsequent stentorian piano pumps, studied glissandi and rippling drones. Or as on “Démenti Conforme”, he uses positioned bells and staccato pumps to attain narrative intensity. The others amplify his ideas with reed squeaks and double keyboard undulations, subverting what had initially been lyrical saxophone tones and harpsichord-like patterns. Because the sequences emphasize almost unbroken reed undulations and dual piano lines that hypnotically processional or discursively swaying or fluctuating, Cruz’s skills are underutilized. But with the disc’s aim kaleidoscopic forward motion, individualism is subordinated to the creation of group-expressed sound pictures.

Adoct’s instrumentation and improvisational strategy may have been the result of unforeseen circumstances. But judging from the results it’s a serendipitous accident that deserves to be repeated.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Ouvre-Glace 2. Carentiel 3. Immobilisme Poreux (Part I) 4.Immobilisme Poreux (Part II) 5. Docteur Infini 6. Démenti Conforme

Personnel: Sakina Abdou (alto saxophone and alto recorder); Barbara Dang, Jérémie Ternoy (piano): Ivann Cruz (acoustic guitar) and Peter Orins (drums)