Christian Winther & Christian Meaas Sven - WM [Va Fongool - 2013]W/M is a double cd set that brings together two albums worth of improvised fare from these two Norwegian musicians. Each of the albums is mainly focused in on utilizing just one instrument, & each album finds one of the pair covering a fair amount of sonic ground going from noisy & rhythmic, onto more tuneful & moody, through angular & off-kilter sonic fare.
The release brings together Ålesund based Christian Winther- who for his album W users purely acoustic guitar. And Kongsberg based Christian Meaas Svendsen, who on his M album plays only double bass. Both artists also appear on one or two tracks of each other albums, but mainly each of thealbums are based on just one instrument.
So first up we have the W disc, and this features thirteen tracks in all- and for me it’s the most consistent, rewardingly varied, and replayable of the two albums here. The tracks move from the melancholic & sombre spaced out strum ‘n’ picked moodiness of “We Sleep”, onto the darting almost American Indian rain dance like neck bash, string pick & scrap of “Hair”. Through to the angular dragging, scraping & slowly tuning up ‘n’ down sawing edginess of “In The Belly of the Cloud, over to the mournful harmonic slowly shifting strums & picks reputations of “How Rare To Bloom”. The whole album flows & ebbs very well, with Winther managing to vary the type of track nicely, as well as keeping a good balance between inventiveness & playability though-out.
So secondly we have the M disc, and while this album has it moments, on the whole I found the disc rather lacking the flair & sonic interest of the W album, with the tracks focus really on more grating, noisy, ugly work-outs, or just rather bland improvising. Once again the album features thirteen tracks in all, and these move between the rapidly & fairly layered yet rather uninteresting bass fumbling’s of “Imbassibru!”. Onto the rapidly growing louder & denser “Der Runtergang” which creates an angular, sawing, grating & agitated drone meeting. Though to one of the more effective moments “Ärt” which finds Svendsen weaving out a rather lumbering yet disorientating double bass path, as Winther adds in morose & angular guitar picks ‘n’ twangs around it.
So from my point of view this double disc set was very much a game of two halfs- with Winther been both entertaining & rewarding with his varied & creative W album. While Svendsen rather underwhelmed & at times even bored me with his M album. It’s certainly a interesting idea for two improvisers to release a joint project like this, it just a pity Svendsen contributions just didn’t cut the mustard for me.Roger Batty