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Agusti Fernandez and Peter Kowald: Sea of Lead

Even the best free improvisation is hit or miss. Disregard for the listener is implicit. On the other hand, most fans of the music understand and even respect such self-indulgence. They know if they’re willing to slog through the dross, they’re bound to stumble upon something revelatory. This album begs such consideration. The seven-part title suite that opens it has plenty of dross: namely, an exploitation of the noisiest, most abrasive, biting-on-tinfoil sounds from Fernandez’s prepared piano and Kowald’s bass. Other episodes, however, transcend novelty and verge on the sublime.

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