“***1/2 Lotte Anker and Fred Lonberg-Holm, recorded live at the Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery in Chicago, on a split-release with Dave Jackson and Dirk Serries, recorded live at Café Oto in London. It’s almost like free jazz bingo. If you had “Astral Spirits” in the label column, you win! The title Two Duos plays like a droll joke, once you start listening. Both halves contain breadth and depth well beyond the simplicity of a duo.
Anker and Lonberg-Holm’s duet plays on all their strengths. Their extended improvisation takes a kind of narrative approach with the titling, “Ice King” / “Melt” / “The Frigid Air” / “Cold Only Hurts Those Who Feel,” and the playing is thrillingly free. Anker and Lonberg-Holm both have a way of taking tuneful lines to their scorched edges, successfully mixing atonal leaps with extended techniques.
On their live improvisation, recorded at Cafe Oto, Dave Jackson and Dirk Serries come screaming, but right around the middle of their duet, Serries swerves lightly into a solo stretch, toying with the volume knob to give his chords that echoey coming-going effect. Jackson intersects with some shockingly high-register, staccato playing that reminded me of some earlier Roscoe Mitchell solos. The whole second half, they stay in this bright and open, atonal space, creating a playful banter.
To be honest, this doesn’t have the feel of a must-have entry in all these musicians’ catalogs. Both are certainly enjoyable improvisation sessions, but I don’t feel like I can give an unequivocal buy-this-now recommendation, which frankly feels a bit odd, considering how much I enjoyed the album. I have a thing about not messing with a label’s canonical release, but you could take the digital versions and split it into two shorter, EPs, rather than leaving it as a single split. You might find yourself dipping into both more often.” The Free Jazz Collective
Just arrived is this beautiful split tape on the significant ASTRAL SPIRITS label. Last year UK alto saxophonist DAVE JACKSON and electric guitarist DIRK SERRIES played an impro duo at the legendary Cafe OTO in London. Now released on beautiful analog tape with on the other side Fred Lonberg-Hold & Lotte Anker.
On July 14th 2015 alto-saxophonist Dave Jackson and electric guitarist Dirk Serries played Cafe Oto. Now the fantastic Astral Spirits is releasing this recording on a split tape with Lotte Anker/Fred Lonberg-Holm.
From the Astral Spirits presssheet “Astral Spirits is incredibly proud to present a new split tape Two Duos, featuring four amazing improvisers. This tape is set up as two different takes on a Reeds & Strings duo, with each side showing a unique take on the classic duo pairing.
Fred Lonberg-Holm returns to Astral Spirits for his third release (following Ballister & Survival Unit III) here paired with the brilliant Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker. The duo was recorded in Chicago at Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery, a beautiful and intimate setting that captures some truly beautiful music. Anker & Lonberg-Holm have been playing as a duo (and as part of larger ensembles) together since 2011 — their initial show was following Link Wray!! They explore far reaches of their respective instruments — from harsh & jagged edged cello scrapes & electronics of Lonberg-Holm to growling flutters out of Anker’s sax — while also leaving plenty of space and breathing room for each other.
Dave Jackson & Dirk Serries are also new to Astral Spirits, showing a different side to the strings/reeds dynamic…Dave Jackson has been playing alto sax in the UK for quite some time, focusing on lots of solo playing (please visit his bandcamp, lots of great stuff) as well as the Solar Fire Trio (also features fellow AS artist Ray Dickaty of Warsaw Improvisers Orchestra!). Dirk Serries has been making a splash in the music world for quite some time as well, from his recent work with YODOK III, Kodian Trio (w/Colin Webster) & his work with John Dikeman to past work as vidnaObmana & Fear Falls Burning. Side B is Jackson/Serries giving us 28 minutes of scorched earth free jazz (think Blue Humans without a rhythm section) with a healthy dose of quiet ambient bridges as well. A beautiful dialogue from two European veterans that are gaining more attention that they both deserve. Two Duos is out May 13th in an edition of 175 tapes (w/digital download).”