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«Alloy» melts two adventurous and strong-minded strategies for composition, improvisation, and sound. The Norwegian Lemur experimental quartet – flutist Bjørnar Habbestad, French horn player Hild Sofie Tafjord, cellist Lene Grenager, and double bass player Michael Francis Duch, was founded in 2006 and performs, creates, and curates contemporary music in improvised, composed, mediated, and conceptual formats. Prolific German pianist-composer Reinhold Friedl is the founder and leader of the international experimental ensemble zeitkratzer, where Tafjord plays, and of the Piano-Inside-Out ensemble, and a busy solo artist, and like Lemur, works at the intersection of improvisation and composition.

Lemur and Friedl began their collaboration in 2015, focusing on the usage of extended playing techniques, form experiments, and utilization of both the entire quintet and the individual musicians put together in solo, duo, trio, and quartet formats, and, obviously, continuing their shared quest to discover and search for the unpredictable and new. Both Lemur and Friedl have collaborated with innovative composers and improvisers. Lemur with Mats Gustafsson, Lotte Anker, Ilan Volkov, and the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. Friedl with Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Alvin Lucier, Keiji Haino and recently Mariam Wallentin.

«Alloy» offers seven «Component»-pieces that use the recording studio as a sonic lab for experimenting with different elements and with distinct strategies. «Component I» suggests a tortured and tensed texture, but also a minimalist and delicate one, focused on employing extended bowing and breathing techniques and playing inside the piano. The second «Component» alternates between urgent and dramatic expressions and almost-silent, introspective gestures. The third «Component» sketches a surprising melodic theme, though an austere and sparse one. The fourth «Component» creates a dramatic, cinematic narrative, using the reverberating qualities of the studio to enhance the drama. The fifth «Component» searches for abstract sounds and creates a reserved drone of chaotic and unsettling expressions and noises. The sixth «Component» offers a quiet storm comprised of an extensive array of breathing, bowing, and attaching objects to the piano strings techniques. This arresting journey ends with the seventh «Component», a hypnotic and meditative soundscape that slides slowly into silence and adds a spiritual aroma for the Lemur and Friedl admirable quest for discovering new sonic frontiers.

Eyal Hareuveni

Bjørnar Habbestad (fl), Hild Sofie Tafjord (fr.horn), Lene Grenager (c), Michael Francis Duch (b), Reinhold Friedl (p)

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