Pianist Crispell and percussionist Hemingway are premier improvisors; to put them together makes nothing short of magic. On these nine duets (of which Crispell claims writing credit for five, Hemingway four), the communication and listening skills lead into spontaneous, powerful explosions or demure, delicate excursions into underground territory. The kinetic force they harness is not only formidable, it is unique in the avant garde way of doing all things free and ungagged. Hushed tones begin the recording; thin piano and percussion notes define "Rotations." An image of a lighthouse at sea on a foggy midnight setting with Hemingway's vibraphone accents buoy "Swailing" perfectly. A more impressionistic series of piano chords builds to anxious heights during "Billy Duck," and experimental piano string scraping with several quiet passages pays homage to fellow creative pianist Denman Maroney on "Thumbrill." The heaviest and lightest chords contrast in shades of green and grey during "Gravity," and "October" has the kind of color contrast you'd expect from this month, but in clear and opaque ramblings, like quietly falling acrylic leaves of all hues, with silence and Hemingway's vibes dings as touchdowns on grass and water. Scattered vibes arpeggios, percussion, piano, and solo drums form the basis for "Last Stand," while "Ice 2" depicts an eastern frozen tundra with careful minimalism and crystalline tones accenting this most beauteous 10 minutes. The finale "Jump" has Crispell ooohing like a ghost, while her frantic piano and Hemingway's dutiful, owl wise percussionistics counter with raised eyebrow. Crispell truly has transcended the Cecil Taylor approach to make music that is all her own, while Hemingway is marvelous in his ability to shade, contrast, punctuate, and complement everything she does. A match made on earth, speaking to the heavens, and some of the ultimate improvised music made for this genre in the past decade.
- Michael G. Nastos (All Music Guide)