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Joëlle Léandre and Lauren Newton: Great Star Theater, San Francisco

Other Minds is proud to present Great Star Theater, San Francisco, a new recording by Joëlle Léandre, double bass, and Lauren Newton, voice. The CD features a brilliantly captured live recording of the duo’s improvised performance at Other Minds Festival 26 on October 14, 2022.

Joëlle Léandre and Lauren Newton have been performing together for nearly 30 years, having met in the mid-1990s in Paris. Throughout that time, they have always favored exploring the textures of music that are not arranged conventionally but rather are scattered, diffused, and dispersed through layers of sound. The voice’s high notes forge a variety of color fragments, while the low notes of the double bass create substance and depth. These two components remain inseparable as the sound settles on a sort of transient stratum and the musicians seek the point where matter and space converge to explore the illusive plane we call “surface.” Their improvisations flow from the pure joy of creating and performing sound songs that are both original and very personal.

In his liner notes, writer and improviser David Menestres describes the duo’s performance as moving “through a myriad of tones, sounds, and sometimes words as in the piece Kujira No Uta. Here Joëlle plays a single prismatic tone throughout, supporting and propelling Lauren’s voice forward yet leaving enough space for the listener to perceive the finest details of word, tone, breath, and the pulsing of the bow across the string. Few duos share a language as intimate and rich, a language that reflects all the possibilities of adventure, music, and life itself.”

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