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Scott Fields Ensemble: Christangelfox

All three players on guitarist Scott Field’s Christangelfox are credited as percussionists, clinking and tinkling various instruments that aren’t listed in the notes but are probably akin to anything shiny on shelves at any Williams-Sonoma. As the clattering, nonenchanting and ceaseless din of the rhythmless percussion hangs in the background, Fields noodles in minor modes on a nylon-guitar, Guillermo Gregorio drones eerily or chirps curtly on clarinet and the usually excellent cellist Matt Turner bows wilted lines in accompaniment, sounding utterly uninspired. It’s an hour-long stab at creating a stark, abstract landscape that fails because the musicians hardly sound engaged and rely too heavily on the tiresome free-jazz gambit of answering one non sequitur squawk with another. Christangelfox ends up a waste of time for all concerned.

Guitarist Jeff Parker teams with an electric guitar-equipped Fields for a series of duets on Song Songs Song (Delmark), and, not surprisingly, the results are just as free as Christangelfox-and just as boring. The album opens and closes with pieces by Parker; sandwiched in between are four “Untitled” pieces by Fields where the pair contrast dirty and clean tones (“Untitled, 1968”), share a wealth of dissonant harmonies (“Untitled, 2004”) and spend many minutes trading complicated phrases reminiscent of Parker’s work in the math-rock group Tortoise. The incessant exploration produces not a single a memorable moment.

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