Sometimes two musicians sound like a big band. Especially if these musicians like to experiment with sounds, blend acoustic sounds with electronic, effects-laden ones and mess with genre and style conventions. Swiss guitarist Christy Doran and Austrian drummer Alfred Vogel fit this kind of inclusive sonic framework. Doran came to their first recorded duet with Vogel with an impressive set of effects devices. Vogel brought his own kind of a double drum-set, a tenor set to his left and a baritone set to his right, extended this cinemascope format with the MIDI-controlled octopad.
Doran, professor of jazz guitar at the Musikhochschule at Lucerne, is one of the most influential European jazz guitarists in the last four decades. He has worked with such innovative improvisers as sax players Urs Leimgruber and Joe McPhee, drummer Han Bennink and vocal artist Phil Minton. His outfits touched all, from free improvisation through prog-fusion experiments to Hendrixian pyrotechnics. Vogel is a generation younger than Doran. He runs the Boomslang Records label and the Bezau Beats festival and recorded before with double bass player Barry Guy, trumpeter Peter Evans and sax player Lucien Dubuis.
The ten spontaneous improvisations (and another hidden track) on «Kontaktchemie» were recorded on March 2015 and stress Doran and Vogel affinity to sculpt arresting yet alien-sounding textures. On the surface, the two sound as two mad scientists who runs some kind of sci-fi experiments with very volatile sounds, thinking that better sounds are formed through colorful sonic explosions. But on repeated listening, the dense and talkative interplay highlights their highly inventive approaches and the immediate interplay. Dotan wise and rich harmonic phrases and his notorious noisy effects collide with the hyperactive, psychedelic-electronic pulses that Vogel rolls.
Doran and Vogel provocative interplay spins and distills so many references into every piece in a manner that tempts you to surrender fully to their alchemical electro-acoustic textures. «Kometenkollision», for example, sound as taken from the mid-seventies King Crimson repertoire, borrowing elements from a sophisticated eighties synth-pop anthem, flirting with a dark drone or laying the outline for a futuristic avant-techno, and still sound fresh and original. The playful «Loch. Schwarz» sound as if an imaginary group of West-African and Indonesian gamelan percussionists were playing-twisting for the first time with electronic sounds. «Das Gelbe vom Ei» spirals repetitive, heavily processed African blues guitar phrases à la Ali Farka Touré into outer space. On on «Stoffaustausch» the fractured, earthly percussive work of Vogel sound as piercing the atmospheric-heavenly flights of Doran and the hidden track continues the sonic confrontations, but with a looser, ironic temperament.
Christy Doran (g), Alfred Vogel (dr)