AALBERS “F” C30 (Specious Arts)

Barcelona’s Aalbers have done this before. See, back in November 2018, the trio worked up a routine for musical accompaniment at a contemporary dance event – well, “worked up a routine” in that they did that on the spot, considering the “routine” was actually improvised. But sometimes the best things in life are left to chance, and the result was apparently such a success that Aalbers figured they had no choice but to come back to it. And so they did, here, on F.

These new recordings are reimaginings, if you will, of the original improvisations, because, c’mon: you can’t improv two of the same thing! The second thing wouldn’t be improv anymore. What you can do is take the idea – the spirit – of the original and try to recreate it with similar effect or success. And since I haven’t heard the original improvisations for the event (thanks a LOT, universe), I have nothing to compare them to. What I can do is rate them against my own personal taste, and that’s the direction I’m heading in right now.

I won’t drag this out – F is really good. Consisting of three tracks – “efe,” “efeefe,” and “efeefeefe,” according to Bandcamp (no track names on the J-card) – F takes a minimal approach like Fripp and Eno, or Harmonia & Eno 76 (scaled even further back), or, uh, Eno. Utilizing guitar, modular synthesizer, computer, sampler, and contact mic, the trio brews up some post-kraut ambience, a delicate, precise soundtrack that splits the difference between synthetic production and tactile playing. I have no idea what kind of dance Aalbers was backing, but I imagine it was “interpretive.” It certainly wasn’t the Charleston.