Mark O'Leary & Han Bennink - Television

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

"Television" is an apt title for this unusual guitar/drums duo, in that it makes us think about channel zapping, both in terms of atmospheres - there's an appreciable blending of short and long, slow and speedy - and especially for what concerns rhythmic subdivision, which is severely tested by two artists who have made a living out of unpredictability.
In fact, the last record I had heard from O'Leary ("Skyshifter" with Günter Müller on Creative Sources) travelled near the obscurities of ambient lands; now, here he is (…actually, this music was recorded in 2001) with mercurial fretboard blitzkriegs, corroborated by a tone where the highs are pretty much cut off, very "elegant jazz" but with fingers that literally leave a wake behind in the most agitated tracks, a seriously scorching phraseology applied even in the so-called subdued pieces.
For what it's worth repeating, Bennink knows any single screw of a drum set like his own life, reading the skins and the wooden parts inside and out, brushing cymbals as if caressing a woman's hair, a delicate roll here, a rackety tumble there so that the history of modern drumming is, as always, revisited in less than one hour.
An exciting collaboration whose attention-catching feel is definitely welcome.

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