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Mics, Cassettes, “Inner Piano,” Oh My (MP3)

Someone deserves an award. Someone, that is, who was at the Bonnie Jones and Andrea Neumann duo performance at Fotofono in New York City on October 3.

Foto Finish: Bonnie Jones and Andrea Neumann live at Fotofono this past October

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Maybe it was an especially attentive sound engineer, and maybe it was a particularly respectful audience, but recordings of microsonic improvisation are rarely as rich with place and sound, and just as importantly this devoid of extraneous noise, as the one that documents the Jones-Neumann show.

Jones is credited with “electronics, mics, cassettes,” and Neumann with “inner piano, etc.” Their 20-plus-minute set (MP3) is a study in lowercase-sound imprecision. To say it’s unclear which person is doing what at any moment has less to do with the absence of a visual to accompany the audio as it does with the level of trust that must exist between two musicians for them to navigate — to chart, to create from scratch — such a subtle landscape together. Light buzzing gives way to fritzy circuits give way to mad oscillations give way to droning static give way to buzzy vibrancy, each moving to the next with a natural progression that suggests a narrative impulse. Where it all ends up is a mass of tangling strings and utterly unexpected vocalizing.

The evening also featured sets by Andrew Lafkas, Barry Weisblat, and Margarida Garcia, and by Chris Cogburn, Gill Arno (mpld), and Tim Catlin. Give a listen at fotofono.net.

More on Neumann at japanimprov.com. More on Jones at bonniejones.wordpress.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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