04 Francois HouleMake That Flight
François Houle & Marco von Orelli
ezz-thetics 1032 (hathut.com)

A barebones, but not budget flight, this 11-track itinerary is fuelled by only two instruments and the improvisational imaginations of Canadian clarinetist François Houle and Swiss cornetist Marco von Orelli. The key to microscopic interactive playing like this is to make the partnership expansive not reductive, creating as many harmonized or contrapuntal tropes as necessary. Not only are compositions divided between the musicians, but for every delicate reed tone and portamento brass sequence heard, an almost equal number of altissimo squeals and half-valve extensions balance the horizontal flow.

This is most expansively expressed on the concluding Morning Song 1 where the tune’s forward motion is speckled with shaking growls and toneless breaths from von Orelli and scoops and stretches from Houle. Eventually both intersect and resolve the tune with connected but distorted high pitches. Transitions aren’t always that abrupt, as dual sweeps up and down the scale are sometimes concluded with grace not suturing. Other times, as on a track like Tandem, the title is literally defined. Allegro cornet puffs and calliope-like clarinet peeps move through parallel shaking emissions only to finally connect with tandem-animated narratives.

Overall, while each sequence allows for individual technical expressions, all are resolved with lockstep ambulation or rondo-like affiliations, leading to broken octave linear motion. Without the need for electronic technology or more partners, Houle and von Orelli prove that together they can auspiciously fuel a memorable musical flight.

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