Biliana Voutchkova / Tomeka Reid – Bricolage III (2022; Relative Pitch) – Avant Music News

This is the fifth release in violinist Biliana Voutchkova’s DUOS2022 project, which pairs her with other creative music composer / improviser / performers. Here, she teams with Chicago-based cellist Tomeka Reid – bandleader, collaborator, and recent MacArthur fellow. While only 28 minutes in length, Bricolage III provides a compelling tour of novel textures and colors that can be extracted from stringed instruments over 500 years old.

For Showing is the longest track and initially exhibits a slow-paced sparseness. Voutchkova and Reid explore the higher registers of their instruments, stopping just this side of discordance. Seamlessly, they move into contrapuntal lines that begin gently enough before evolving into assertive, abstract statements. Along the way, bells and wordlessly fricative vocalizations are included. Toward the end of this piece, the two move in a direction that straddles modern classical clustering and free improvisation. It is a chaotic approach that eventually incorporates tapping and hammering on the bodies of their instruments in arrhythmic patterns.

For Getting also begins sporadically, but with bursts of dissonance from Voutchkova coupled with Reid’s unstructured playing. Guttural sounds come from more tapping and bouncing of the bows on strings. Voutchkova takes an unabashedly angular direction with disjointed and shambolic melodies. For Giving wraps things up with echoing and gritty lines that roll through phases of frequency and amplitude. These aspects combine into a busy and complex passage that becomes a textural drone that fades out, ending the album.

Throughout, Voutchkova and Reid employ a combination of plucking and bowing, making heavy use of extended techniques. Rather than watching another episode of your favorite sitcom, spend half an hour with Bricolage III. You will not be disappointed.

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