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Flower-Corsano Duo with Thread Pulls

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Michael Flower and Chris Corsano dropped by for an unforgettable night of mindbending improv. There were no limits to their talent, feeding off each other and the crowd in a spectacular way. It is performances like this that make me want to pick up my guitar but they also show how inadequate I am in comparison to the likes of these two whose instruments seem to be extensions of their bodies. Time stood still, space stretched out and several other clichéd descriptions happened. However, this pair of skilled improvisers never resorted to cliché.


Dublin, 26th April

Support tonight was from Thread Pulls, a band who had previously left me indifferent when I saw them support Bardo Pond over a year ago. Since then, they have reduced themselves to a very tight two piece; bass and drums forming the core with both members using loops (both recorded and live) to fill in the sound. The occasional use of trumpet brings to mind Throbbing Gristle's "Cornets" being covered by Sonic Youth. By the time they finished their set, I had become entirely converted from my previous apathy. This leaner, meaner and more muscular line up has left the music at its most powerful.

A quick shuffle of equipment onstage, a sudden filling of the venue and the Flower-Corsano Duo were ready to rock. Immediately the two of them burst into metaphorical flames. Corsano's furious drumming flowed and grooved in and out of recognizable time signatures, always sounding perfectly executed but far from rigid. Unfortunately, from where I was standing I could only see his head and the odd glimpse of his kit. Similarly for Flower, from time to time I would see him playing totally enraptured but for the most part I was treated to the back of someone's head. This might have worked to the music's advantage as I could close my eyes and let myself fully embrace the sounds being launched at the audience.

And those sounds were wonderful. Flower was using an electric shahi baaja (I had to look it up), creating both a rich sonic tapestry as well as a droning backdrop for the duo's improvisation. His playing was superb, constantly shifting what he was playing but with similar motifs appearing throughout the set. Most importantly, he and Corsano connect fully with each other; neither artist overstepped their mark and both artists knew what would complement the other's playing, obviously from performing with each other so often they have moved beyond improvisation into communication. To witness such a performance was both ecstatic and inspirational, to achieve a level of musical compatibility with another musician even half as effective as the Flower-Corsano Duo would be a miracle. By the time the gig was over, all I could do was take a deep breath and go home exhausted and delighted.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 April 2008 15:31  


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