Elliott Sharp and Charlotte Hug pi:k

Free improvisation began as an attempt to discard pre-existing genres and ended up as a genre itself. One of its fascinations though is the way it can reinvent other types of music from the ground up, not so much by drawing on them as sources as by independently stumbling across the same territory. pi:k, a collaboration between polymathic New York guitarist Elliott Sharp and Swiss violist Charlotte Hug, is definitely free improvisation, but it’s also a searing reinvention of country fiddling and acoustic blues guitar. Their exchanges have an unusual sense of vehement mutability, as if their ideas have already begun to melt under intense heat even before reaching full expression. The result is a gritty, intensely tactile music in which pops and plings shoot out from Sharp’s acoustic guitar like sparks from a Roman candle, while Hug’s hoarse note smears waver and bend as if her instrument were made of silly putty. (Emanem)