Bordreuil / Rowden – “Hollow” [No Rent, 2017]

Bordreuil / Rowden “Hollow”
[No Rent, 2017]

It’s hard to describe the incredible amount of detail and control that is present in this release. The bowed string instrument can be incredibly responsive and expressive, but there’s a world of difference between even the subtlest variation in bow pressure, speed, or placement between the fingerboard and near the bridge. On a level deeper than that, coaxing harmonics and subtle timbral changes out of an acoustic instrument is even more difficult, where certain harmonics ‘speak’ differently –or at all– depending on very precise and controlled thresholds of these variables.

Leila Bordreuil (cello) and Zach Rowden (double bass) showcase the rich vocabulary that comes from this kind of discipline, and “Hollow” is a virtuosic exploration in the limits of timbre and control. As a string player, this work essentially defines and encapsulates a lexicon of sounds, and pushes the boundaries of imagining what instruments can be capable of. At once radical and canonical.

Absolutely recommended for snooty academic spectral music buffs and dodgy harsh heads alike.