The spirit of the free-improvising meeting of Italian, Munich-based trombonist Sebi Tramontana and generation-younger, Portuguese, Berlin-based cellist Guilherme Rodrigues is captured in the poem of the Korean artist and human-rights activist Han Jiiae, «They must be night animals»: «I mean, something like owls on the trees or / lonely fox wandering around the city. / With no expectations, they find themselves / out of darkness, putting all their efforts to go / back to the night but too late. All they could / do is to sympathise each other and finding / ways to survive during the day time. / They go through the courses of adjustment, / invention, and resistance but at the end, / transcendence. / It was not only their first time to see and face / the light, but also, after all, they had their first / lunch in their whole life made by Han Jiae».
Han Jiae collaborated before in multidisciplinary projects of Rodrigues. Apparently, Rodrigues and Tramontana, one of the key figures of European free-improvisation, known from his collaborations with the Italian Instabile Orchestra and Joëlle Léandre, Georg Gräwe and Frank Gratkowski, liked the poem so much that they titled the album after the Han Jiae. Their duo was recorded at Friedelstrasse 5 in Berlin in February 2020, and Tramontana also did the cover art.
The seven short, untitled pieces highlight the rich and unconventional languages of both Tramontana and Rodrigues and the various dynamics they experienced at the studio. The first piece is lyrical and playful, but the following ones are more free-associative, touching fleeting melodic veins and focus on exploring timbral nuances and expand the sonic palette of the trombone and the cello. Rodrigues tends to probe the physical aspects of the cello as well as the physicality of the space. Tramontana plays with extended breathing techniques and multiphonics and his pathos-filled vocalizations add an ironic angle and a sense of mischievous surprise to the spontaneous, conversational dialogs. Their distinct approaches merge beautifully and suggest imaginative and poetic interplay where the delicate sounds are elastic and tangible entities that can be molded, shaped and reshaped constantly. And as Han Jiae observed, the Tramontana and Rodrigues do go through the courses of adjustment, invention, and resistance but at the end, transcendence, as in the course of any meaningful free-improvised meeting.
Sebi Tramontana (tb), Guilherme Rodrigues (c)