There is often a fruitful interplay between the worlds of composed and improvised musics, with musical strategies and techniques of the one obliquely forming and informing the other. No one is surprised any more to find musicians eking out through extended techniques some of the most unconventional sonicalities from the most classical of instruments. In fact, such techniques have now themselves become almost ‘canonical’, part of the conventional musicianship, both within the context of contemporary improvisation (this field that the label Creative Sources has been so tirelessly propagating for the last 10+ years) as well as within the field of modern composition. The trio ‘Para’ contains within itself these two worlds, with hornist Elena Kakaliagou more part of the world of composed musical practice, pianist Ingrid Schmoliner more at home in the world of improvised music, and double-bassist & composer Thomas Skempowski himself a man of both worlds. This release, ‘Ligo’ is itself definitely a hybrid of sorts, undefinable as to its generic constitution and unfathomable as to its intentions. And that, i assume, is exactly what it wants to be. Strikingly the implementation of traditional, conventional musical techniques sets the stage for a magical sequence of events. Apart from this use of conventional musical techniques there is also a more traditional narrativity in play here, with the pieces successively unfolding some kind of absurd and definitely unconceivable drama. Although extended techniques abound on this release as well, the choice for such techniques too is here apparently not solely musically defined but also theatrical in nature, as can be made up from the press release. Both the utilization of mixed techniques and mixed styles make for a sense of ‘artificiality’ that employs all the different meanings of the word: craft, cunning, invention, deception, contrivance, machination, deftness – all characteristics that might evoke a sideshow at the carnival but are just as well suited to characterize the oblique and unimposing, but quite masterful artistry of this work and of this trio.