Guitarist Daniel Meyer Grønvold and drummer Kyrre Laastad are barely touching. That’s the beauty of their improvisations as Deep Thoukus. The instruments skim against one another, each a pondskater to the other’s rippled water, making brief and intermittent contact – enough to push away and coast for a while – before gently reconnecting again. The drums make a mere suggestion upon the trajectory of the guitar and vice versa. Both players seem otherwise at the behest of a fundamental nature, their rational minds softened, strings plucked like petals falling, cymbals trickling like river on rock. Everything is steeped in a fuzzy consciousness; the lights of attention shine down on the here/now, but also radiate upward through a frosted skylight, away from the room and toward something wonderfully indistinct.
That’s not to say that Deep Thoukus lack pace and precision. Meyer Grønvold opens the record with a babbling solo that scurries between blues intervals and unexpected jaunts, treading teasingly upon the path of expectation and then veering off, while Laastad accompanies with a dribbling broken bop that sounds like he’s shaking out a bag of rimshots and rides. On the fourth track, Laastad slaps his snare metronomically and tilts through tiny changes in resonance, while Meyer Grønvold adorns the vertical structure, like a floral creeper, with an immaculate syncopated melodic pattern. The duo exude a gentle fascination with tone and material, thumbing over the same phrases until the nuances of amplifiers and snare skins really start to sing. Nothing is held too tightly though, and while it’s a delight to hear them grab onto a particular rhythm or timbre for a moment, there’s also a beautiful nonchalance to how they release them again.