Fresh Sound, the always envelope-pushing concert series masterminded by Bonnie Wright, continued their quest for sonic adventure in a big way last night when Ken Filiano and Anders Nilsson delivered an alternately blistering and contemplative set at Space4Art in the East Village.
Filiano began Nilsson's "No Man's Land," by creating a thick cloud of atmospheric loops with a digital delay while Nilsson eked eerie volume pedal swells for a dual sound that charted two independent courses, intersecting at casual intervals.
Nilsson came to the front with a jarring, racing set of gestures across the guitar-neck, reminiscent of Extrapolation era John McLaughlin. Much of the night was grounded by Filiano's remarkably dark and resonant bowing, which was rich enough to vibrate molecules in the air.
There were long stretches of what sounded like dual improvisations separating distinctly episodic written sections. Exploratory minuets of oblique harmonies morphed into intensely rhythmic dialog and occasional leaps into sonic squalls that found each musician extending the expectations of their respective instruments.
Filiano's "A Little Bit Of Fiction," burst out of the gates with an ecstatic freebop head that soon found both players embarking on parallel courses of abstractly swinging conversations. The bassist set waves of boppish forces into motion while the guitar plinked nervous jangling clusters that swung in a more fractal sense.
Often brilliant, and always challenging, Filiano and Nilsson confounded the expectations inherent in a guitar/bass duo, providing the audience with a new a paradigm to absorb.
Photo by Bonnie Wright