JOACHIM NORDWALL & CHRISTINE ABDELNOUR

LABEL : FIREWORK EDITION RECORDS

**200 copies** Lebanese saxophonist Christine Abdelnour brings an impressive, extended instrumental vocabulary to Joachim Nordwall’s cryptic electronics in this live recording made at Ystad Konstmuseum for Sweden’s Firework Edition Recordings.
Falling deeply within the label’s taste for sounds that exist on the liminal edge of perception, A Higher State of Body and Mind sees Abdelnour coaxing spittle-inflected small sounds and bestial whimpers from her brass tool while Nordwall colours the negative space in elemental, greyscale drones and sheets of coruscating electronic texture.
Their results are organic and drily, soberly expressive in a transfixing style of sonic dialogue that covers all tiers of the frequency spectrum. As the release’s title implies, A Higher State of Body and Mind is attuned to extremes of penetrative highs and rich, sonorous low end, but neither dominate the other, rather they buoy and balance each other in their quest to elevate listeners to experience, feel and perceive the recording on its purely sensual, synaesthetic terms.

REVIEWS 

 

IN VITAL WEEKLY

 

Here we have a work of improvisation in which two radical minds meet up. There is Christine 

Abdelnour, player of the alto saxophone and a much-seen guest on stages for improvised music 
and Joachim Nordwall, player of all things electronics; I am not sure what it is these days, but I 
would not be surprised if these days it is all modular synthesizer for him. Abdelnour uses unusual 
techniques to play her instrument and as such, she is
quite a good match for Nordwall. While one 
would normally think that Nordwall's music is to be found in the world of loud drones, here he 
adjusts his knobs and gear to suit the more chopped-up playing on the alto saxophone. Many 
times that instrument doesn't sound like an alto saxophone, but takes on the shape of something 
else. Just what it is I don't know. Maybe the output of the alto saxophone is fed through the 
machines controlled by Nordwall; or maybe he just follows the course she sets out with his 
playing; short when needed, long(r) when necessary. It starts in a very subtle way with the first 
ten minutes hardly hovering about audible levels but after that, it is a full-on presence and they 
go for some heavily controlled yet dirty sound. It peeps and bursts, but the pressure is on; there 
is no explosion of distortion and noise; it is something that the music seems to suggest it could 
do, but it doesn't and that's the beauty of it. Less adventurous improvisers, or
perhaps those 
without good skills would perhaps let it all and take off in a distorted ending (plenty of that I 
heard over the years), but there is no such thing here. There is a drone element in the final 
section, pushing gently but firmly against the eardrums, making a final gesture; this is forty-
minutes of pleasant uneasy music. (FdW)