Christoph Schiller, Lee Danzeisen – 47°13′N7°EMarch 27, 2013
One of who knows how many releases on the Creative Sources label sat awaiting my eventual attention here right now, Christoph Schiller and Lee Danzeisen’s 47°13′N7°E might just be the only improvised spinett duo I’m ever likely to hear. In truth, before I first heard Schiller’s music a few years back I don’t think I was even aware of what a spinett was (similar to a harpsichord for those still drawing a blank) though to be honest the way this duo put them to use we don’t hear much of how the traditional instrument was designed to sound. Schiller certainly has a specially prepared instrument, and while it is impossible to tell from the scratchy tinkling sounds here whether Danzeisen uses a similar degree of preparation there are certainly no traditionally struck keynotes anywhere here at all. The sounds we hear then are mostly very small, little crackling, fidgety, clicks and pops and rubbing sounds, all mostly at the quieter end of the scale, but gathering into dense clouds quite often that brings the volume up collectively. Neun, the second and shorter of the two pieces here introduced some more electronic sounding tones at the opening of the piece, presumably created using eBows or something similar on the strings, but otherwise everything here has the feel of quite a dry, microscopic and thoroughly acoustic affair.
On the whole its a really nice listen. Its mostly impossible to tell the two voices apart, partly because obviously they are both playing similar instruments, but also because their approaches seem closely attuned, with both musicians opting for a more intimate, understated methodology. When the music pulls itself up and out into the clouds of activity we hear often, and particularly in the half hour plus opening track Zehn, everything comes together really dramatically, tiny sounds swarming like ants working together en masse, gradually converging until suddenly they are everywhere. Elsewhere perhaps things lose their way occasionally, and its easy for the details to overdo themselves from time to time, particularly in the calmer passages of Zehn, when the duo’s sounds seem to wander off track into little tangents when perhaps even more restraint could have served the music better, but all in all this is a solid and thoroughly enjoyable album that sounds like it has been made by two musicians thoroughly enjoying themselves.