REVIEW: Aaron Novik & Arrington de Dionyso’s self-titled album

 photo NovikdeDionyso_cover2_zpse625fc12.jpg Even though I am a fan of their individual works, I would have never thought Aaron Novik and Arrington de Dionyso would have collaborated, but here it is, their debut album together and it is a trip and a half. The songs aren’t really properly titled, there are five acoustic pieces and one gigantic “Electric Duo” piece that runs for 21-and-a-half minutes, consisting of a saxophone meditating with someone who is doing Tuvan throat singing, mixed in with someone playing around with an analog delay and making things sound more spacious, or far out. Then again considering what Novik an de Dionyso have created over the years, maybe this union was bound to happen, and I’m glad it has.

All of the sounds here are improvisational, very much of the moment and yet it sounds like they’ve decided to unite in space (or in a distant desert), open up their sounds and see what fell out. There is a third part of the equation in “Electric Duo”, and that’s Eli Crews, the one responsible for the various audio transformations of de Dionyso.

The remaining five pieces are called “Acoustic Duo”, titled as “Acoustic Duo 1”, “Acoustic Duo 2”, and so on. The first one is the both of them having a saxophone sword fight, while the second piece involves Asian percussion and the both of them singing, howling, and meditating. The third piece is more curious saxophone erotica while the fourth piece is a masterful saxophone and throat singing duet, sans special effects. The fifth and final piece is improvisational vocalizing dueting with a saxophone, before the voice fades away and is taken over with another saxophone, or is it just someone playing games by creating feedback with a microphone and amplifier? Or someone sticking a microphone in their mouth and howling with it in silence? It could be none, it could be all. It’s nice to hear these two collaborate, merging minds between Olympia, Washington and San Francisco. I hope more collaborations between these two are planned in the future.

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