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Jean-Luc Cappozzo & Géraldine Keller - Air Prints

Massimo Ricci, The Squid's Ear

The investigation of the thin interstices separating what is usually accepted as impromptu creation and the stern analysis of distinct timbral appositions appears to be the core of the matter in Air Prints. Eliminating from the equation the obvious references to the instruments (trumpet, flute and voice plus unspecified "objects") in relation to the album's title — namely taking for granted that the emission "from the inside" lies at the basis of everything, as clearly shown in a track named "Les Souffles Du Temps" — we're left with a sort of theatre of broad-minded reclusiveness characterized by moments of frail grace, often deriving from a singular commixture of extemporary precariousness and reciprocal confidence.

In spite of the performers' differing technical backgrounds, the ground upon which the collaboration flourishes is one and the same. It doesn't have to do with "modern classical" or "free jazz" influences — they're still in sight, though — but especially with the shared purpose of finding a useful thread for a genuine connection, as gossamer (or ironically dramatic — check the short "Sur La Balançoire") as it may be. Even in the less reserved sections — Cappozzo's trumpet solo or Keller's growling howls during "Ouvrir Les Intermédaires", or the whole "Volutes Et Spirales", perhaps the only place where the performers release their selves from all kinds of mental compression — there's a sense of order and, in a way, silent choreography at work. One imagines the pair's gestural qualities while hearing the sounds, already evocative per se.

This is not an easy album to take in, requiring absolute focus and open-mindedness. It surely offers plenty in terms of challenging improvisational conjectures, also given the use of literary fragments amidst the instrumental nuances. Keller's combination of soprano earnestness and bedraggled gutturality — with much more in between — meshes with Cappozzo's now humorous, now solemn wisdom perfectly. But it is when they probe the most shadowy depths, illuminating each other with a feeble lamp of truthfulness, that this record really reveals its value.