This is the first duo effort to be released by Canada-born, but long time contributor to the San Francisco Bay Area scene trumpeter Darren Johnston, and the legendary guitar iconoclast Fred Frith. They can also be heard together on the fine release “Reasons For Moving,” (Not Two, 2007), alongside Larry Ochs, Devin Hoff and Ches Smith, but in this more intimate musical gathering, the results are truly astonishing. The genesis for this session was originally to provide sounds for a short dance film for filmmakers John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson and choreographer Amy Seiwert in a commission for the SF Dance Film Festival, but as can happen when improvisors are effectively inspired by one another, this led to a full release’s worth of exciting new music. With the distinct and unusual combination of a guitar and trumpet duo, from the very first moments of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Nobody” we feel that they’re inventing a new timbral map and a new format. These are musicians from different generations, but they have more in common than what you might suppose. Johnston has started a path with his instrument similar to the one taken by Frith 40 years ago. After the termination of the prog band Henry Cow, the British six-string player started intense exploratory work around techniques, vocabularies and forms – frequently creating unprecedented and beautiful new sounds – and his accomplishments have since widely expanded the possibilities of the guitar. Now, Johnston is doing the same with the trumpet, taking it to its limits and sometimes beyond. Don’t miss this important step of today’s music evolution.
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