It will be Natanielle Felicitas's cello and Alex Eastley's bassoon that grab your attention first on Winnipeg improv troupe Civvie's excellent Inheritance. There's a pleasing, organic quality that comes from traditional acoustic instruments when they're well played, and that's very much the case here.
There's more under the surface, though. Digital effects are applied sparingly and with purpose, complementing the bassoon and cello, and helping give the recording a strongly contemporary feel. And there's another piece to the puzzle that is Civvie; their choice of percussion, in the capable hands of Kelly Ruth, is an amplified weaving loom (literally).
It's not often you hear something played for the first time, but in this case, Ruth's performance is central to the success of Inheritance. The loom is most recognizable (as an actual loom) on "Empire I"; it adds a real sense of poignancy to the mournful bassoon and cello performances, relating them to the hardscrabble domestic lives endured by so many women. On other tracks, like "Encroachment," the loom plays a less emotional role, functioning simply as a percussion instrument, full of intricate surprises.
My interpretation of Inheritance is just one possibility, though; the album's minimalist, abandoned-commercial-property cover points to other answers to the album's riddle. Either way, Civvie have produced an impressive, compelling disc. (Independent)