Fred Lonberg-Holm & Aaron Zarzutzki, Breakway, Pandava, S.B.W.R. All Ages Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Sept. 30, 9 p.m. 2011

Among the choicest thrills for fans of free improvisation are the moments when you really can't tell who's making what sound. It's one thing to achieve that with similar instruments, or when everybody's playing is mediated by electronic processing; it's quite another to pull it off with the gear Fred Lonberg-Holm and Aaron Zarzutzki use on the new Feminization of the Tassel (Peira). Lonberg-Holm plays purely acoustic cello with his usual astounding idiomatic and technical flexibility, and Zarzutzki uses something called no-output turntable—basically a record player with neither a stylus nor records—to create a variety of coarse groans and dry, quickly decaying reports. Though it's always clear that two musicians are involved, the album sounds more like dialogues between disgruntled waterfowl or pairs of humming machines than any instruments you could name. Local trio Breakway, by contrast, take a very nearly opposite approach on their new Peira release, Hot Choice. Even when Brian Labycz and Paul Giallorenzo both use analog synthesizers, their squelches and buzzes occupy quite different tonal realms; Marc Riordan contributes galloping commentary with a conventional jazz drum kit. But the constantly recalibrated balance between their spontaneous and clearly differentiated sounds whips up its own kind of excitement. This is a joint record-release show. —Bill Meyer Lonberg-Holm & Zarzutski headline; Breakway, Pandava, and the Ssang Bang Wool Raiders (S.B.W.R.) open

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