The second release of the Stockholm-based association FRIM (The Association for Free Improvised Music) captures the first-ever live-on-stage meeting of the duo of cellist My Hellgren and Peter Söderberg, who plays the theorbo, guitar and oud, at Fylkingen in Stockholm in February 2021. Hellgren is a Gothenburg-based musician, focusing on solo and chamber music, and premiered several solo and chamber music works, often in close collaboration with the composers. Söderberg has a background as a guitarist in modern jazz and free improvised music, and as a lute player, he has specialized in both renaissance and contemporary music, as well as employing his historical instruments in free improvisations.
The title of this meeting, «Plucked and Bowed», captures best the spirit of this 47-minute set of acoustic, free improvised music. This improvisation begins with gentle and attentive searches for the right dynamics but soon enough Hellgren and Söderberg began to sketch subtle, mysterious melodic veins that sound timeless and exotic. Later on, Hellgren and Söderberg’s array of extended techniques – yes, of plucking and bowing – enriches the patient and introspective dynamics, often add percussive qualities to the string instruments and charges the meeting with healthy tension.
Patiently, Hellgren and Söderberg explore more sonic aspects of the art of the moment, shifting and alternating between beautiful, folk-like melodic threads, adventurous and inventive sonic games and brief, enigmatic drones, always with impressive focus. This meeting ends with a Middle-Eastern, lyrical folk melody, articulated by Söderberg on the oud, and abstracted beautifully by Hellgren, solidifying the profound affinity both musicians established throughout this improvisation.
My Hellgren (c), Peter Söderberg (theorbo, g, oud)