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Sifter: Sifter

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Anyone expecting a set of free improvisations from the triumvirate of guitarist Mary Halvorson, cornet player Kirk Knuffke and drummer Matt Wilson might be surprised by Sifter-pleasantly surprised. All three musicians bring compositions to the table. Knuffke’s six tunes give him the most representation, though Wilson contributes five. Halvorson only brings in two pieces, but her personality plays a key role throughout. Ultimately, Sifter is more about what three musicians create together rather than the way one writer tries to shape the sound.

While the music has structure, it leaves plenty of opportunities for cutting loose as the spirit moves. “Cramps” begins the set with Wilson playing a shuffle with brushes and Halvorson playing single notes like a bassline under Knuffke’s bright melody. Soon enough, Halvorson is playing a distorted solo laden with fuzzy harmonics. Her “Forever Runs Slow in Cold Water” begins with guitar and cornet countermelodies, eventually leading to a solo marked by weird, warped effects.

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