Title - Crossings
Artist - Jon Durant & Stephan Thelen
For those unaware, Swiss guitarist Stephan Thelen and his American counterpart Jon Durant have teamed up for an international musical conversation.
The pair conceived and executed the album Crossings (out now via Alchemy Records) during the Covid lockdowns of 2020.
Each working in his own home studio, Thelen on Lake Zürich, Durant on the Willamette River, the pair fell into a remarkable sense of shared purpose as they developed the seven tracks that comprise the album.
While the album was entirely done with guitars (and one bass part), there are frequent trips into sonic spheres that bear little resemblance to the traditional sounds of the instrument they share.
Following on from Durants work on Thelens Fractal Guitar 2, the pair began the work as a project for a sampler project that MoonJune Records were to release.
Those plans were scrapped but the two had so enjoyed the process that they began to explore more pieces together. Thelen noted: In April 2020, during the lockdown, I immediately thought of doing a duo with Jon. I decided to revisit the title track from my 2004 solo album, Vol de Nuit, which we recorded as a homage to two of our favorite
guitarists, Robert Fripp and Terje Rypdal.
1. Vol De Nuit (10:11)
2. Sunrise (4:52)
3. Mise En Abyme (11:28)
4. Crossings (12:58)
5. Fractal 5.7 (7:56)
6. Dream Sequence (7;53)
7. Infinity (9:59)
Opening on the ten minute, mesmerizingly ornate, stunningly ambient and magnificently layered opus, Vol De Nuit and backing that up with the delicateness of symbolic touch within Sunrise, they follow that with the epic eleven minute pure, unadulterated gossamer of Mise En Abyme.
The album contains a series of musical dialogues, often begun with Thelens polymetric guitar loops, which allowed Durant a wide range of options for textural and lead work, none more notable in his expressive fretless and colorful electric 12 string playing on the near thirteen minute title track, Crossings.
Next up is the gentle, hauntingly atmospheric at times, synth pop hipsway of Fractal 5.7, with the album rounding out on the darker hued duo of Dream Sequence and the additional cinemascape ambiance of Infinity; both showcasing the two guitarists textural soundscaping at their finest; with the former offering a nod towards innovative trumpeter/composer Jon Hassell.
Durant comments, Working with Stephan offers me a chance to explore in ways I would not necessarily do on my own, and it challenges me to step up my game and let my playing be more extroverted.
Thelen adds, We did a lot of file sharing, and I was very pleased at incredibly good, fast, and reliable working with Jon was.
Jon Durant @ Bandcamp (North America)
Stephan Thelen @ Bandcamp (Europe)