Partners in music and life – sax player Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey played relentlessly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and for over a year released sixty weekly episodes of their homemade «Stir Crazy» compositions and improvisations duets on Laubrock’s Bandcamp page free of charge «until this madness is over and we can meet for real again». These duets were recorded on Laubrock’s laptop with both Laubrock and Rainy sweating and swearing, and ambulance sounds in the background.
Counterfeit Mars is comprised primarily of composed pieces and improvizations Laubrock and Rainey worked out during the «Stir Crazy» period. It is already their fourth duo album for the Relative Pitch label (following And Other Desert Towns, Buoyancy and Utter, 2014, 2016 and 2018), but both Laubrock and Rainey played on many of each other’s projects. The album was recorded professionally at Brooklyn Recording studio in August 2021.
Counterfeit Mars is the culmination of that year of uncertainty, isolation and concentrated duo explorations. It features 13 short pieces stressing the intimate, natural dynamics of Laubrock and Rainey. They begin with paying their deep respects to John Coltrane and Rashied Ali in the opening piece «Andy’s Eye» (Andy Taub was the recording engineer) and continuing to play with surprising and unpredictable sonic ideas and inventions, with brilliant senses of drama, suspense and irony, elegant command of their instruments and with no attachment to any of these ideas. Each distinctive piece enriches furthermore their continuous dialog and highlights the profound, almost telepathic way that Laubrock and Rainey understand each other and converse through music. They juggle with each other ideas, orbit and dance around each other, tease, provoke and challenge each other, but most of the time serenade their significant other.
Ingrid Laubrock (ss, ts), Tom Rainey (dr)