The International Nothing Mainstream

The gentle irony of the CD’s title gives a clue to the decidedly non-mainstream music within. Released on fledgling Tokyo label Ftarri, the International Nothing is the minimalist brainchild of clarinettists Michael Thieke and Kai Fagaschinski. The pieces are warmly meditative, growing out of long tones and multi-phonics whose pipe-organ texture slowly changes dynamics and sonorities in an organic way. The Berlin-based duo delves into compositions that grew out of extended improvisational experiments and the results were mined for those nuggets richest in developmental possibilities. What captures the ear is their impeccable attention to detail, especially the resulting frissons that come when the microtonal shifts give rise to beats and resonances that well up and recede in dreamlike waves of colourful sound. Particularly intriguing is "Feathered Machine Song,” which is full of bird chirps and fluttering note groups. The duo is joined to good effect by Margareth Kammerer on voice and guitar, Derek Shirley and Christian Weber on bass and Christof Kurzmann on voice, for three tracks. Recommended. (Ftarri)