The International Nothing Less Action, Less Excitement, Less Everything

No pyrotechnics here ― there isn't a staccato, fortissimo or 16th note to be heard. But Berlin-based clarinettists Michael Theike and Kai Fagaschinski have developed such sensitive awareness of one another's instrumental gestures and sonorities that their sounds become fused, creating shimmering fields of multiphonics or hovering mists of subtone dronishness that convey the woody essence of their instrument. The twosome find combinations of pitches that reveal interesting presences, sometimes of ghostly different tones. They worry a single pitch, detuning to produce throbbing beats and then finding pure unison, they depart. Lip slides, false fingerings, the entire encyclopaedia of clarinet sound resources are referenced in the Nothings' five-track explorations. The pieces share a minimalist, ambient atmosphere that gradually reveals itself at a slow, gentle pace. While moments can be somewhat intense, the disc's overall state is meditative, tranquil and, curiously for its definite "avant" aesthetic, relaxing. Light a candle, soak in a warm bath and let these guys take you on a fascinating voyage. (Ftarri)