Hélène Breschand / Jean-François Pauvros Sombre

Breschand is a harpist from the new music end of things, though she’s also a member of several improvising ensembles; Pauvros is a guitarist who has worked with Arto Lindsay, Keiji Haino and Rhys Chatham, among others. Their duet Sombre is haunting stuff: it’s the kind of music that sounds like it’s travelling over a distance, perhaps through some distorting medium — rippling water, heat-hazed air, echoing corridors, or the wavering distortions of memory and time. Within the quiet sonic haze, you can catch will-o’-the-wisp glimpses of more definite things: a fragment of blues guitar, sunken-cathedral bells, a violin, a voice, a hurdy-gurdy, but then they gently recede, or their outlines shimmer and dissolve into the surrounding mist. It’s a small, unclassifiable beauty of an album, which stakes out its territory on the uncertain edge between dreams and waking consciousness. (Victo)