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Album review

The Space Between is an improvising trio of Philip Gelb (shakuhachi), Dana Reason (piano) and Pauline Oliveros (accordion). Named for the title of an earlier meeting (Between/Waves, released in 1999 on the Sparkling Beatnik label), they investigate spaces quietly, if not always gently. Preferring to work slowly, and at what might be called a molecular level, they subsume ego to the point where the individual sounds are less important than how those sounds react. While Gelb's contributions are worlds away from Japanese flute tradition, the veteran Oliveros goes deep beyond any expected accordion voice to tap the breathing through the reeds. In turn, Reason sprinkles notes like early-evening stars or jabs just enough to goose the dialogue. There are two long improvisations. The first, "Stacia," does not so much gather momentum as circle around moments of simultaneous activity, convincing eventually via a kind of pointillist responsiveness. "Lila" adds Matthew Sperry on bass, to whose memory the record is dedicated, and is even spookier, from the early evocations of whale song to eerie keening. The choice of instrumentation and the lovely, mysterious packaging suggest New Age music; it isn't.

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