Saturday, July 30, 2011

Zero Centigrade: Unknown Distances

Zero Centigrade
Unknown Distances (Audio Tong; 2011)
Tonino Taiuti (acoustic guitar, found sounds)
Vincenzo De Luce (trumpet, found sounds)

Duo recordings are nothing new. But what makes Zero Centigrade so interesting is the combination of guitar and trumpet. Not your usual duo. We saw this last year with the duo Nate Wooley and Joe Morris done expertly. Zero Centigrade have been recording since 2009 but have built up a small and intriguing body of work.

On their latest release, Unknown Distances (Audio Tong) Tonino Taiuti and Vincenzo De Luce bring a set of subtle, spacious and erie sounds to life with a real sense of adventure. It's a bit less deconstructive than their previous 2010 effort, I'm Not Like You (featuring one of my favourite pieces by the duo "Dirty Times") and you can find some structure within all the improvisation.

There's a combination of folk, blues, jazz and avant garde circling throughout the session. "Snake's Tail" moves slowly with Taiuti's mild stretches across the guitar, and fluctuations back and forth from De Luce's trumpet. It all turns into an interesting ride that has you wondering what sound comes next. "Now & Them"'s dark quality feels like moments out of Sonic Youth's Evol (think "Halloween"). Taiuti's playing is pretty straight forward with De Luce adding the improvised moments with striking passages of brilliance.

"Dry River" is probably the most well structured piece on Unknown Distances. Opening quietly with a bluesy theme from Taiuti and slowly expanding into an experimental exhibition of manipulated trumpet, guitar tapping and random sounds.

While Taiuti's guitar does dominate this session "Cloud #2" is a beautiful listening experience with both musicians working in tandem creating an emotional and minimalist soundscape. De Luce rips loose towards the end with real vigor and it carries over in the track "Upward" which De Luce uses varies breathing techniques to create some inspiring sounds. Unknown Distances closes with "Other Voices," a calm two chord piece with some warm passages crafted by De Luce.

In all, Unknown Distances is rich in its simplicity and deep in its desire to utilize space, minimalism and improvisation. It will be a hard listen for most but it is very rewarding. It's a small leap forward but retains the Zero Centigrade spirit for exploration and discovery. 

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