The music on this album was recorded in the studio the day after Frances-Marie Uitti and Ayman Fanous spent ten minutes improvising together in concert, in a first meeting. It represents bidirectional ideas in music often and erroneously thought to be opposites: western vs. eastern, improvised vs. through-composed. In this recording they are stood on their head, examined, dissected, tortured, and ultimately reconciled.
Fanous says: “Musically, Frances and I came from two distinct sets of emphases. In my case, these were non-western music, as well as chromaticism in both its contemporary classical and free jazz expressions, all funneled through the techniques of classical and flamenco guitar. In Frances’ case, it was a lifelong devotion to and mastery of parallel directions: improvisation, as well as contemporary composition at the highest level. Both were made infinitely more powerful by the deployment of ingenious extended techniques, including her revolutionary two-bow methods. Our backgrounds contained enough shared common experience to allow for a tentacular interdigitation of our improvisational languages, which was effortless and natural.”
The session began with bouzouki-cello duets, in which drones played a central role, calling up a middle-eastern sound-world. Fanous writes: “As the pieces evolved, they gradually became unmoored and reverted to who they really were, but together. This process of feeling one’s way through the darkness was like navigating towards some unknown endpoint, the way the ancients used the astrolabe to navigate using the positions of the stars — Negoum in Arabic.”
Ayman Fanous: guitars, bouzouki
Frances-Marie Uitti: cello