Review: Gareth Davis + Frances-Marie Uitii – Gramercy

The tones of Davies and Uitti sound joined at the waist. One slips gently in between the overtones of the other, mimicking pace and dynamic so as to move in inseparably synchronised waves, their cohesion gently assisted by a deep reverb that causes bellows of woodwind to melt into low groans of string. Whatever the location for the recording (either some sort of lavishly expansive space, or the equivalent conjured via studio FX), the two players feel like the only inhabitants; their two instrumental voices flood the empty surroundings and lap up against looming stone walls and ceilings, caught within an intimate duet that only feels closer entwined as the pair play out the duration.

The collaboration is conversational, but not in a manner that possesses a notable back-and-forth; Gramercy aligns the movements of its players rather than pitting them against eachother and awaiting the frictional sparks. They dance in parallel, gliding in slow hums that rise and recede in steady breaths, moving between dissonant shapes and wallowing in the unease until it somehow sounds like a warped form of blissful resolve. But there are points at which the dynamic becomes jagged and aggravated – the sound’s curvaceous shapes begin to jut out as sharp edges and cruel, abrupt corners (manifesting as Davis’ menacing baritone trills and Uitti’s visceral twin-bow scrapes), with both players writhing to escape their harmonic interlock. Particularly during moments like this, Gramercy should really be imposing tension and haunting discomfort upon its listener, but there’s something so warming about the strength of connection between Davies and Uitti, and this reviewer could derive nothing but beautiful light from the seemingly impenetrable dark.