Haunting minimalism is a specialty of Berlin-based psycho-acoustic clarinet duo the International Nothing. But on In Doubt We Trust, Michael Thieke and Kai Fagaschinski expand and deepen their expressiveness in this 38-minute single-movement extended piece.
Founded in 2000, the duo have researched the timbral resources of their instrument and incorporated them into their sensitive and restrained improvisational work. However, on their new release, they have opted for a through-composed framework wherein the results of years of meticulous exploration and discovery are thoughtfully deployed.
Clarinets panned left (Thieke) and right (Fagaschinski), their combined sounds are sonic equivalent of Mr. Spock's Vulcan Mind Meld. The breath of one begins the muted microtonal oscillations of the other. A held, darkened tone flowers into its multi-phonic correlative, which pulses and cedes, flowing into a series of variations, each an unexpected and unique mirror image of its origin. Beat frequencies throb and glow with an eerie life force. Two pitches produce a third "ghost" difference tone that leaves the listener questioning where it's coming from: an auditory "hallucination." The Nothing's recording will reward repeated close listening, but can work as an enveloping musical cocoon to wrap around one's mind when some non-directional thinking fits the mood. (Independent)