Digital recording on May 21 & 22, 1991 at Radio DRS, Zurich.
This 1991 pairing of two of Europe's finest free jazz and improv characters is a lesson in duo dynamics. Long before this date, Urs Leimgruber and Fritz Hauser knew each other well enough to dive deep into the sonic waters and trust that everything would come out OK. It came out better than that, in fact; this session is, for lack of a better term, a stunner. The sense of hearing that Leimgruber and Hauser show toward one another is so deep that they are able to display an economy of expression almost completely absent from the scene they participate in. On "The Arrival," Hauser moves first with a complex, constant 12/16 time signature while Leimgruber plays snake charmer over him. The music winds through two kinds of phraseology, involved only with sound and feeling and never method. The pace is very fast yet no extra notes are played, making the music sing. On "Distant Smell," tonal variation and spatial relationships are explored and elongated into a trancelike improvisation where the whisper of cymbals shimmers underneath soprano overtones by Leimgruber. He needs no drums to make his horn moan against the hushed ring of Hauser's "anti-percussion." And you can feel in this tune, and in the others here, genuine surprise on the part of the players. Leimgruber's tone on soprano is like Jackie McLean's alto - the edge is part of the charm. His angularity in scalular investigation provides a wedge for intervallic expression by Hauser. On the title track that closes the set, Leimgruber multi-tracks his horns and Hauser's rhythms. The interwoven melody lines by soprano and tenor, playing like traffic signals against the rhythms, are playful and graceful, and they swing. Short, punchy phrases animate Hauser into Raymond Scott territory rhythmically. But the real gem here is the ten-minute "Long Forgotten Night," with its deep resonating percussion played from tom toms and log drums. From hushed phrases to long, droning soprano lines, Hauser and Leimgruber call out of the desolation to one another, attempting to speak in the darkness and lessen the distance the darkness seems to impose. What is "forgotten" by the musicians is the outside world; in this piece they exist in a void, and therefore have no one but each other to communicate with - and they accept their fate and go about the business of communicating in the blackness. This sparse, hunted piece puts an already exceptional set over the top.
-Thom Jurek (All Music Guide)