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Filament documents the first-ever meeting between American, Baltimore-based pedal steel master Susan Alcorn and Irish, New York-based tenor sax player Catherine Sikora, recorded at Zürcher Gallery in New York in May 2022. The three, extended “Filament” free improvisations focus on space – the unique recording space, the reserved interplay that lets the soulful and seductive sounds float gently in space, and the generous space that Alcorn and Sikora left for each other’s ideas to blossom and develop in their own accord, as both Alcorn and Sikora are gifted with deep listening and know how to articulate captivating conversations.

«Filament 1» is relaxed and quite atmospheric, «Filament 2» introduces briefly more immediate, tense and playful sounds to the spacious interplay and «Filament 3» solidifies these spacious and patient veins. And as if the sounds of the pedal steel and the sax radiate a strong sense of transcendence that transports the listener to another space or a different plane of consciousness. No wonder that one of the most influential albums that Sikora has listened to is the iconic Interstellar Space by John Coltrane and Rashied Ali (Impulse!, 1974).  This recording session stresses great freedom and tonal flexibility that opens up endless, beautiful and inventive sonic possibilities that call for more inspired meetings like this one.

The 49-minute, free improvisation Recherché was created – remotely – between The New York-based Sikora, Toronto-based drummer and Tulsa-based synth player (Pro One + Sherman Filterbank) and multi-disciplinary artist Brad E. Rose, the man behind the Foxy Digitalis web magazine. Rose recorded his part in one afternoon in 2020, and then asked Fisher to add his part. Fisher decided not to listen to Rose’s part before recording, just hit the play button and did his part. In 2021, Rose got excited about Sikora’s work and thought that she could add «some horn carnage» and sent her the files. Sikora, like Fisher, did not listen to the recorded, parts of Rose and Fisher before she recorded her improvised part. The outcome is a powerful and restless piece of dense and noisy, monster kind of music that bubbles and boils, and as Rose describes it, «rips through the stars and sinks your teeth into the soil», but the lyrical sax of Sikora offers some comfort and softens the sonic blows of Rose and Fisher.

Eyal Hareuveni

Susan Alcorn (pedal steel), Catherine Sikora (tenor saxophone), Colin Fisher (drums), Brad E. Rose (synthesizer)