Collaborations and confrontations between improvisors are a common thing, and can sometimes, as Derek Bailey himself pointed out in his book Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music
, eventually become dreadful; losing in interest as confrontations with previously unknown partners becomes a habit for the performers. Quite simply, the Belgian label Korm Plastics (who are responsible for loads of releases from artists like The Hafler Trio) choose to avoid this problem by inviting groups of players that had met before and had a specific desire to play together. I was not aware of this fine series of sessions until they decided to host the fine guitar improvisors Greg Malcolm and Tetuzi Akiyama, for a completely acoustic recording.
Both very idiosyncratic players, the duo sensibly restrained their range of techniques here, matching this way more easily their very distinctive sounds together. Though undoubtedly recognizable, Malcolm?s prepared guitar sounds appear here and there. In some ways, we are closer to some kind of peaceful and melodic instrumental folk than to Malcolm?s alien techniques or Akiyama?s raw sonic explorations. But of course, even with that, they remain both very uncommon guitarists and "Six Strings" draws much of its interest in an original way of performing and improvising as an instrumental folk duo. Malcolm and Akiyama?s complementariness is impressive and further enlightened by the recording processes, sometimes even playing with stereo effects that localizes each player and reveals that what sounds like a perfect melody is in fact born out of the intertwined notes of the two guitars. This is a great and beautiful session which clearly avoids some of the minor drawbacks of each soloist's performances. 8/10 -- Constantin Dubois (7 August, 2007)