Ab & Terrie Hef

These 14 duets for sax and guitar throw light on the dynamics of improvised play - are the players with or against each other, is there a leader and a follower, what choices do they make in each situation? Saxophonist Ab Baars keeps his instrument in check, for the most part, preferring to create energy through tension and dynamics rather than kinetic flow. The guitar-half of the equation is Terrie Ex (of Dutch art-punks the Ex). His approach is clean and equally minimalist, using short, single-note bursts and the native sounds of the guitar's body and wire to propel him forward. Each piece consists of short cells of sound, initiated and responded to in turn and separated by a silence that gives room for the decay of the signal to play a strong role in the music. These little restrained conversations eventually give way to short outbursts of a raised voice and quickened heartbeat, but ultimately these aren't arguments meant to be won or lost. In the end, the players are equals and have decided to build something, rather than tear it down. (Atavistic)