Music Reviews

Artist: Kris Tiner/Mike Baggeta
Title: There, Just As You Look For It
Format: CD
Label: pfMENTUM
Rated: *****
Trumpet and acoustic guitar duet Tiner and Baggeta serve up a dozen tracks of their own original compositions. Spare, ultra-modern and nonlinear, the musical pieces are all founded on improvisation, with little or no symmetry. That does not mean they don't make sense, in and of themselves--they do; but instead of melody lines and rhythm, you hear mostly grunting bursts of horn over jumbled, jangly, atonal guitar scuffle. In track number ten, "One More Chance," these lapses into madness are broken by islands of melodic calm. At other times the guitar becomes a percussion instrument (with knuckle tapping) and is bowed into raspy scree with a violin bow (by Baggeta, in this case a guitarist obviously not trying to be Jimmy Page).

While this well-made yet spartan recording brings plenty of atmosphere with it, I have a hard time picturing its context. Is it romantic or existential? Urban or pastoral? Lyrical or elegaic? Jazzy or more classical? Does it take after Stravinsky or Coltrane more? It could be that its many ambiguities are what's good about There, Just As You Look For It, in the first place. It depends on how impressed one is by musicians who are able to get as many different varieties of sound out of their instruments in a non-rock-and-roll or non-electronic-music setting, without smashing them to bits. If this were a live recording, then perhaps it might be more convincing. I can't decide, so therefore you must.

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