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Album Review

Mayas, Magda / Abdelnour, Christine – “Myriad” – [Unsounds]

Thurston Hunger   11/12/2012   A Library, CD

Improv duo on gilded rat cage (Magda Mayas on piano) and
half-bird/half-snake ventriloquism (Christine Abdelnour
on sax). This is definitely a release that shows both
instruments yearning to deliver more than their expected
sounds, and evidently both of these ladies are known
for that (this is their introduction into KFJC’s library).
Mayas on (or more appropriately inside) the piano really
uses the full resonance of the instrument, employing a lot
of prepared piano effects, the pluck, the scrape and
maybe even bowing. All left to linger in the air (this
is an exceptionally well-recorded album, as is often the
case with titles on Unsounds). Abdelnour on sax, almost
sounds like there is some sort of electrified cloaking
going on, but it probably is all acoustic. Sputtery early,
heavy on breath, it gets tight, tiny and shrill after that
on the ~28 min “Hybrid.” Then comes a section, maybe 19 min
in, where I wonder if she’s got a prepared sax, with some
sort of device dangling inside the horn, producing a sort
of death rattle with each breath. There is a second piece,
“Cyanide” served up as desert, shorter at only 5 minutes
but still ripe with invention. Abdelnour gets aquarium
sounds swimming in her sax, Mayas tugs zither-webs in her
piano before doing more percussive tapping. Great introduction
to two talents, look forward to more.
-Thurston Hunger

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