Like Wordsworth’s poetry, the music on Conjure “is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” On each track, violinist Hwang and pianist-vibraphonist Berger create a sheltered, private space where they can contemplate the anxieties and activities of everyday life from a serene perspective. Each improvisation has an inner tranquility, suggestive of the sounds and rhythms of nature, yet each one echoes with the turbulence of life experience. Berger and Hwang strike a fragile balance on “Silhouettes,” as Berger, on vibes, weaves a translucent web over which Hwang casts an aurora of high-pitched, delicately colored wisps of melody. “Beyond Reach” is an intricate and leisurely flow of melodies and timbres that intertwine like smoke from separate fires. Rhythmic interaction is the focus of “Vanishing Roots,” on which Hwang’s plucked violin and Berger’s piano play bright little phrases that make grasshopper leaps around each other. The darker, weightier viola provides a shadowed background for the lighter, dancing lines of Berger’s piano on “Faith.” It’s a beguiling album from beginning to end; the music is strong and unsentimental, but at the same time gentle and deeply empathetic. It’s quite magical.
–Ed Hazell,Point of Departure