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Penumbra CD009

Photo: John Corbett


SCRATCH MATCH presents seven percussion duets by Chicago's Michael Zerang (of Broken Wire and the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet) and Stockholm's Raymond Strid (of the trio Gush). Recorded at Fylkingen in Stockholm by renowned Swedish recording engineer Olaf Madson, these seven duets match two of contemporary music's most inventive and original percussion masters. Michael Zerang and Raymond Strid met in Stockholm in 1996 following the release of Okka Disc's PARROT FISH EYE featuring Zerang's duets with Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson. Mats Gustafsson had arranged an ad hoc concert for Zerang at Stockholm's prestigious recording studio Fylkingen with seven Swedish improvisers inlcuding Raymond Strid. Strid and Zerang have subsequently performed together in Chicago and, more recently, again in Sweden as part of the Swedish National Radio project GUSHCUSSION which presented the trio GUSH (Gustafsson, Strid and Sten Sandell) augmented by percussionists Michael Zerang and Kjell Nordeson. This CD was recorded at time of that project.

Of his own playing, Raymond Strid has written: "I try to play a music which above all has no 'beat' but also has no 'tempo' either. It is rather that the music has an underlying pulse and tempo which derive from my natural breathing cycles." This notion of an implied, intuited pulse defined by breath, shared focus, and the surges of inspiration and contradiction fuels the dialogue within these duets. Thick with the coarse textures of bowed metal, the clatter of metal against wood, and a rich array of unexpected and mysterious rasps, scrapes, rings, and snaps, these are percussion duets during which more conventional percussive sounds only occasionally emerge. The seven duets on SCRATCH MATCH sound less like combative interaction and much more like an intense collective struggle to reconfigure our most basic concepts of percussive interchange


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