Jessica Ackerley and Daniel Carter “Friendship: Lucid Shared Dreams and Time Travel”

I’m immediately struck by the lightness that permeates this collaboration between the legendary Daniel Carter and fantastic guitarist, Jessica Ackerley. Friendship: Lucid Shared Dreams and Time Travel is a mouthful, but the real focus is on friendship. Throughout the album’s eight tracks, the duo celebrates their camaraderie and the communal spirit that flows between their respective practices.

The first thing that strikes me about Friendship is the quiet, contemplative feeling prevalent throughout. This is music that is considered, thoughtful. Carter is a jack of all trades when it comes to reeds and horns, able to blast out sonic shrapnel with the best of them, but also find deep expression in quiet passages. He is at his reflective best throughout Friendship and the interplay with Ackerley’s warm, open playing is surprising and moving. “Dream State” ripples with reverie, saxophone notes gliding into view at a distance while Ackerley’s scales quietly creep into view. It’s playful yet serene. This same feeling, though with a moodier tone, returns on “Hidden Truths,” where Carter and Ackerley dance in intricate shapes, chasing each other through cascading themes.

When Carter switches to trumpet on “Foreknowledge,” the duo imbue a more mournful tone. The year of isolation rounds into shape, memories of loss and confusion weaving their threads through the hypnotic repetition of Ackerley’s guitar. It comprises some of the heaviest passages on the album, but there’s a sense that the two are tackling the anxious days together. “Converging” digs more into the fearful moments and day-to-day confusion of those early months, again with an almost whimsical tone. Ackerley’s dexterity is so impressive, allowing her to create intricate, fascinating aural patterns at lightspeed.

Even with the deeper dives and headier cuts, Friendship is an album that celebrates the tranquility of being with friends and the transcendence we can find if we embrace those moments and relationships. As Carter pirouettes through the city on closer “Awakening,” Ackerley’s guitar sprints ahead, ribbons trailing behind as the duo ride away into the world of dreams. What a glorious ride.

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