Some couples are so different from each other you wonder how the hell their relationship works. Violinist Jon Rose (for 40 years an epicentre of Australian free improvisation) and pianist Chris Abrahams (one third of the Necks) are a bit like that. Often you feel this tension – almost a tug of war – pulling the music in two directions at once, and yet rather than undermining the outcome, it is precisely what makes the music so compelling.
Whereas Rose tends to extrapolate an idea in the least expected direction, Abrahams pursues more overtly logical sequences, yet still eschews predictability. He grounds the music to some degree, implying harmonic contexts; he holds the kite, if you like, while the violin is the kite. And what extraordinary sonic acrobatics it executes. Rose still finds sounds and combinations that have the thrill of the new, and that explode into showers of unforeseen options. Meanwhile Abrahams can make such telling statements with so few notes, and then suddenly open a gate on to a lush melodic garden just as improbable as Rose’s sonic starbursts. Furthermore, just as Rose can startle with a sudden glinting beauty of tone, Abrahams can flirt with noise as music.