Flute player Robert Dick and pianist Ursel Schlicht are musicians who never cease to experiment, always seeking to expand and transform their sonic palettes, to stretch their instruments sonorities and explore new soundscapes with an impressive arsenal of extended techniques. Dick plays on a series of flutes – one with a glissando headjoint, bass flute, piccolo, open-hole alto flute and contrabass flute, and Schlicht plays all over the piano, keys, strings and the wooden body. The two recorded their debut album, «Photosphere», in 2004 (Nemu Records, 2005) and between 2009 and 2013 recorded a new series of duets, this time connecting their compositions around the theme of faraway universes.
«The Galilean Moons», the album title as as well as the main four-movement suite, was written by Dick and Schlicht for the 2009 edition of the Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato, Mexico. This suite celebrates astronomer Galileo Galilei discovery of the four moons of Jupiter, named after him. The aural imagery of this suite is the most adventurous on this album. It is intriguing and eccentric, sudden and volcanic, melting noisy multiphonics, disturbing metallic sounds and alien vocalizations into an intense and haunting sonic journey.
The other pieces suggest surrealist and imaginative soundscapes. «Tendrils» enables Dick to explore the sonic possibilities of his invention, the glissando headjoint, while Schlicht turns her piano to a tortured, resonating harp. «A Lingering Scent of Eden», inspired by American author Alan Weisman post-human scenario «The World without Us», is the only pieces that resembles a jazz improvisation, playful and emotional even as the duo sketch a virgin landscapes not disturbed by humans. «Dark Matter» stresses the duo sense of humor as Dick recites in an unassuming delivery random texts from spam mails, challenges Schlicht to comment on the absurd texts and answers himself with bass flute interruptions. The final piece «Life Concert» juggles with exotic elements. It turns the sonic range of the Western piano to one that brings to mind the sounds of the African thumb piano, kalimba, and later abstracts an Indian classical raga as a European atonal composition.
Sun Ra once had a business card that urged his followers to buy music from the future, referring, obviously, to his music. Dick and Schlicht offer another kind of futuristic musical textures, strange and inventive ones but always engaging.
Robert Dick (fl, v), Ursel Schlicht (p)