The Covid-19 pandemic forces musicians to necessitate new solutions for connecting and collaborating with other musicians. The duo of Swedish, Stockholm-based Per Gärdin and Germany, Bonn-based clarinet player Rainer Weber recorded their debut album as a duo while they were isolated in their homes, during the pandemic lockdown in May and June 2020. The Bandcamp platform enables both musicians to offer this fresh collaboration almost immediately after it was captured.
Gärdin and Weber contemplated a few old and new dilemmas related to free-improvised music. «How to listen? In real-time or who listens to who? Listening one way or both ways or not at all? Simultaneously – before – after? Playing with or without pre-instructions? Composition – improvisation? Spontaneous composing? Improcomposing?» «Distant calls / No questions» experiments with these different approaches.
The seven pieces attempt to answer a few of Gärdin and Weber’s dilemmas. The opening «Reflections» focuses on an urgent and dense, searching atmosphere where both Gärdin and Weber employ extended breathing techniques, but already establishes the chamber, quiet and emphatic tone of this meeting. «Triptych» offers a more introspective and implied dialog that begins to sketch a loose architecture. «Diptychon» contrasts the singing-melodic voice of the soprano sax of Gärdin with the breathy, ethereal of the prepared bass clarinet of Weber until both instruments sound as extending each other’s voices in this moving, meditating piece. «Palindrome» is a thoughtful conversation that employs the distinct circular breathing of Gärdin and Weber and injects an elusive feeling of moving out-of-time. «Mirror» introduces a much-needed sense of playfulness as Gärdin and Weber sound as dancing around each other. «No questions», where Weber plays the wooden daxophone (invented by the late Hans Reichel), adds to the delicate chamber atmosphere a strange and mysterious human voice gibberish. The last «Distant calls» highlights the profound, emphatic interplay between the more reserved Gärdin and the more extrovert Weber.
Hopefully, a future live or in-studio dialog of Gärdin and Weber may answer a few more dilemmas of this fine duo.
Per Gärdin (as, ss), Rainer Weber (bcl, prep.cl, daxophone)