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Album Review

From its opening moments, with vocalist Sidsel Endresen stutter singing into the echoes of a room in front of a live audience accompanied only by the glistening effects of Stian Westerhus' effects-laden guitar, it is obvious this is no common duet recording. It is not even a typical vocal-and-instrument improvisational offering. Recorded at 2011's Nattjazz Festival in Bergen, the duo engages in an astonishing variety of forms and approaches in this hour-long high-wire act. Endresen has spent over 30 years performing and composing in a wide variety of genres from traditional, folk music, film scores, jazz, mutant pop, and dance music, as well as improvisation. Westerhus is one of the great young Western European hopes for Continental jazz. His music is as informed by Evan Parker's approach to saxophone as it is by other guitarists. The 11 pieces here are exceptionally wide-ranging. Opener "The Rustling of a Long Black Skirt" contains an angular, blues-infused approach, both vocally and instrumentally. "Wayward Ho" emerges through an often harrowing, labyrinthine sonic hallway. "Wooing the Oracle" is choppy and riff-laden, and even suggests metal-esque aggression, while "The Law of Oh" is a ballad that begins with a rumbling and brooding guitar to emerge as a heartbreaking ballad that disintegrates in soft, white-washed noise. Didymoi is the Greek word for twin. These two, though a generation apart, approach one another organically, with shared dreams for adventure, creating the new not so much from form, but from a symbiotic and fearless collective vision.

Didymoi Dreams, Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus
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