Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Much of this recording was conceived as a 20-year update and progression from the duo's masterpiece Chiaroscuro, released on Windham Hill Records in 1985, which sold over 65,000 copies. As Darol and Mike have both learned so much about life and music since then, they hoped to extrapolate on what would become a lot of folks' favorite instrumental recording. The wish to make a musical ''message from the future'' that would reflect their present emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves. They tried to not get too hung up on perfection but to communicate a vibe; to showcase the glorious sounds of their string instruments playing music in a space ''big enough to do it in.''
JazzTimes (p.84) - "For all the intricately woven arrangements and the obvious attention paid to capturing crisp sonics, there's an engaging spontaneity that informs this session."
Dirty Linen (p.81) - "The two old friends empower their instruments to breath with meditative expression."
Personnel: Mike Marshall (guitar); Darol Anger (baritone violin); Philip Aaberg (piano); Todd Sockafoose (acoustic bass); Michael Manring (bass guitar); Aaron Johnston (cymbals).
They do what they do, and they do it so damn well. Part newgrass, part new age, part jazz, part anything you can think of, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall make a great pair, combining violin and mandolin (plus a few other plucked strings from Marshall) for a wide-ranging sound. They have some great collaborators on board this time around in pianist Phil Aaberg, bassist Todd Sickafoose, and percussionist Aaron Johnston, with a few other contributions. But the focus is on the protagonists, who come up with some joyful work, like the duet on the classically influenced "Bach, Up" or "The Creep," an odd little way to end the album, with the pair of them on many instruments (20 in total) just repeating a melody. They generate a big groove on "Replaceitall," which slides along very smoothly, but with musicians of this caliber you expect nothing but the best. If you know the work of these two artists, there will be no huge surprises here, but that's fine. There's a palpable joy in the playing and the way they bounce off each other. ~ Chris Nickson