This disc documents a live summit meeting between Henry Kaiser
, the American elder statesman of avant-garde guitar, and Jim O'Rourke
, a young Canadian with similarly adventurous tastes and highly developed skills. All of the pieces presented are duo improvisations recorded without overdubs, and the resulting document is a marvel and a delight. Kaiser
uses lots of electronic effects to layer and drastically alter the sound of his guitar, while O'Rourke eschews special effects of any kind in favor of purely mechanical sound manipulation. Half the fun of listening to O'Rourke, in particular, lies in trying to figure out how on earth he can create his infinite resonances and polyphonic washes without the use of electronics -- his solo turn on "Just As a Wall of Quiet Flowing Stands Near" is both beautiful and technically fascinating. The album's high point, though, is the breathtakingly gorgeous"Stations of the Tide," on which Kaiser
builds luscious washes of sound over which O'Rourke plays atonal, yet achingly lyrical acoustic guitar lines. Consistently challenging and yet frequently lovely in every way, this is a remarkable album.