Alastair Galbraith & Constantine Karlis Radiant

New Zealand’s Alastair Galbraith is legendary for his numerous underground recordings during the past 20 years. Radiant is Galbraith’s first release in a couple of years and is a collaboration with Constantine Karlis, drummer for High Dependency Unit. The title track might be 35 minutes long, but it doesn’t waste a single second, nor drag its heels at any point. Galbraith’s violin soars, sounding like something between Dirty Three and one of John Cale’s viola solos. While there is no obvious structure to the piece, it doesn’t feel like it was improvised either. Karlis’s role shouldn’t be underestimated either because his percussion forms the backbone throughout the entire performance, both signalling a shift in the mood and responding to Galbraith’s every move. It is hard to believe that this wonderful noise is being created by just two people, and that it is a live recording. After such an incredible piece, "4 Orbits” is something of a letdown. Clocking it at almost eight minutes, its brevity works against it because it doesn’t have the time to develop any convincing ideas. Instead it comes in fits and starts before climaxing with a stilted freak out that is utterly unsatisfying. Fortunately Radiant is well worth the price of admission on its own and Galbraith has added yet another essential album to his already impressive discography. (Emperor Jones)