Brötzmann, Haino, O’Rourke – Two City Blues 2 (CD Trost)  

I happened to be on a touristic blues and beyond tour in Chicago a couple of months ago, and this recording could or should very well have taken a prominent place in that retrospect. The names responsible for Two City Blues 2 might however not be the ones one would typically expect. Veteran underground legends Haino, Brötzmann and O’Rourke played in Tokyo's Shinjuku Pit inn endlessly it seems and had the great idea to get this released, so it seems. Austrian label Trost had the honor to do so, and released Two City Blues 1 on vinyl and Two City Blues 2 on CD, the latter being reviewed here.

Although Two City Blues 2 starts as a traditional blues, after some 5 minutes another 45 minute lasting vortex starts in which these gentlemen cannot any longer ignore their purpose and resist their natural longing for freedom, and they take off into an adventurous masterclass of improvisation that from time to time results in moments of mutual ecstacy, listen for example to what happens somewhere past the 11 minute mark or equally vivid, the apotheosis unfolding at around the 23 minute mark. As always almost, Brötzmann is in the forefront, leading the way. On Two City Blues 2 he however leaves more than enough space for the listener to fill in voids, to interpret and drift away. Towards his fellow players, there are moments where he seems to struggle sometimes to pause, to give others space to come forward, but instead creating an atmosphere of densely layered walls (not per se as dense as folks like Borbetomagus have patented), it sometimes prevents being absorbed deeper into the complexity and beauty of all the hidden patterns this disk has to offer. Overall, Two City Blues 2 is a fantastic whirlpool-like attractor in which one gets sucked in, time and time again, where every individual fighting for its place is the next moment washed away, leading into the most stunning moments when Haino uses his voice, his craftsmanship and mystical seniority and then leads instead, and where Brötzmann and O’Rourke cannot do anything else than just follow.

Blues? Yes, absolutely, only here it comes in disguise, as a shapeless, flexible, mouldable illusion of a mourning soul, but isn’t that exactly what blues is all about. PvdG