Boomkat Product Review:
Wondrous works steeped in millennia of Indian Raga traditions, by longtime duo Amelia Cuni and Werner Durand, plus recent travelling partner Uli Hohmann, for inimitable Belgian label Aguirre.
We should start by sadly acknowledging the passing of Catherine Christer Hennix, the now legendary artist whose Born of Six, and Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage, ensembles Cuni & Durand were key members of. Understandably, ‘Clearing’ is keenly offered in direction of Hennix’s disciples, with Cuni’s deep knowledge, and practice of, Indian Dhrupad singing merging with Durand’s exquisite instrumental touches and the discrete drumming of Uli Hohmann, in a way that surely resonates with the chronics and spirit of the late, great, Swede.
In the four durational parts of ‘Clearing’ the trio steadily unfurl mesmerising landscapes on the mind’s eye, minimally meshing Dhrupad singing with the unique tonalities of Durand’s self-built wind instruments, a soprano sax, and blown kalimba, knit to Hohmann’s hand-played meter. in each, they carefully distill the elements to a pellucid transfixion, with the trio all holding to a finely balanced third of the frequency spectrum in holistic harmony.
The results are practically therapeutic; their emotional register runs from the gently burning, wide open vitality of Durand’s plastic clarinet in lush, oily waves and Cuni’s distant voice on ‘Seconds of Thirst’, to a noirish flipside of that wave with ‘Byss’, where Hohmann’s hand drums offer slow ballast and buoy to Cuni’s spectral presence. ‘Ferry’ follows in a lowkey mode with Durand’s soft wind and Cuni’s hypnotic overtones perfusing the gauzy mid ground up to its elegiac conclusion, before the trio sync into the glorious updraft of their title piece, which recalls Indian traditions as much as its descendants as far as Celtic folk in its eternally melancholy but hopeful appeal.