Recorded in 2005 and released by the Lebanese label Al Maslakh, which translates as The Slaughterhouse, Studio One documents two compatible performances at Pancake Alley, New York and Candlestick Maker in Chicago by Michael Bullock (contrabass and feedback), Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet) and Vic Rawlings (cello and surface electronics). Theirs is a quiet and occasionally tentative improvised music, allowing drones to establish an atmosphere before the players muddy it, in the process finding new directions and the means to explore them.
None of the acoustic instruments sound as you would expect them to but that's par for the course nowadays. Kerbaj, in particular, can manufacture a wide range of abrasive and percussive sounds from the mutes and resonators he introduce to the bell of his trumpet, all of which he uses sparingly and with discretion.
The lengthy "S 1.4" is introduced, rather unnecessarily, as a quiet piece - nearly all of the six tracks are quiet pieces - and is ghostly resonances billow and distort perception like mist on moorland. The track grinds almost to a halt around the 12 minute mark, and there's a flailing moment, which is nonetheless interesting to hear, before the players manage to re-establish a rapport and carry the music forward. Warts and all, this is a fine example of improvised music in the new millennium, and a good indicator that Improv still has something valuable to offer, something that no other music can provide.