Free jazz guru Tristan Honsinger's collaboration with Massimo Simonini, the director of Bologna's "Angelica Festival Internazionale di Musica", has yielded a piece of work, Call Me Us, that would be better presented as an exhibit at a museum of contemporary art, rather than as a music CD for review.
I'm not sure exactly where the boundary lies between avant-garde music and something that is purely art (but not music), but for me, this CD has crossed that boundary. Frankly, it put me in mind of infamous works of art such as Damien Hirst's Mother and Child Divided (a cow floating in a tank of formaldehyde), Away From the Flock (a sheep in formaldehyde) and Tracey Emin's My Bed (an exhibit of her own unmade bed, featuring ruffled sheets, used condoms and other gritty details). There are, of course, many people who are absorbed by such art and who will pay literally millions of dollars for works by these artists. If you are one of those people, or at least intrigued by the art but can't afford it, then the solution might present itself in Call Me Us, which is simply an affordable CD, but no less innovative than many works of contemporary art.
Tristan and Massimo's collaboration is totally improvised. Tristan strokes his cello strings, for which he is famous in the free jazz world, and Massimo adds a number of sound clips of, mainly, classical music to the proceedings. In the midst of this chaotic sonic amalgam the two of them speak, Tristan in English and Massimo in Italian, not always to each other, and make an assortment of noises with their mouths. Rather than creating a new genre of "classical rap", the result sounds more like a couple of small kids practising - and messing about - for their music lesson whilst someone twiddles a radio in the background. All the way through the CD! And it's not a short CD! So...you can imagine that - unless you are one of these aforementioned contemporary art lovers with patience - whilst this is never a torturous CD to listen to, it does begin to grate very quickly and listening to it even once, so that I could report on it for all you fine people reading this, was one of the most difficult tasks I've undertaken for SoT! At least in a museum of contemporary art you can choose to dwell by or move on, depending on how the work grabs you! This is where Call Me Us should be directed – a museum, or perhaps a short slot at a fringe festival of some sort.
Music it's not.
1) Allora (10:57)
2) Swampy e Ritorna (10:22)
3) Comincia da Mercurio (11:47)
4) L'Arena (1:47)
5) Una Pesca, Per Vostra Gola (6:45)
6) Page Comes of Age (9:49)
7) Tu (2:21)
8) Fresh is the Sense Of (10:56)
9) Daily (5:09)
10) Nostro Karma (9:01)