Richard Carr is a New York-based violinist, pianist and composer, and together with a string quartet drawn from the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, he has recorded a haunting album of atmospheric reflections on the space ‘between the gloaming and dawn’, in ‘Night Fragments’. ACME have worked with the likes of Wayne McGregor, Meredith Monk and Max Richter, to name just a few, and Carr has worked with artists such as Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins and Sly & Robbie, as well as numerous recordings in his own right. The sound world is improvisatory and rhapsodic, with many tracks combining scored parts for the string quartet beneath Carr’s flights on the violin, although he also plays piano, hammer dulcimer and makes use of electronics on other tracks. A common element is slow moving chords, often in the string quartet, whilst a solo line adds flourishes and folksy melodic lines on top. As a result, many of the tracks have a slower overall tempo, although The Ghost of a Flea, with its rapid perpetual string motion brings a little more rhythmic energy, with its minimalist influenced repetition, which slowly becomes more jerky and lively. A Twist in the Mist gives the improvisation to the strings, whilst the piano provides the shadowy, introspective grounding. And there’s an eerie piano opening to the ACME Nocturne (named in honour of the ensemble), and Carr cites Morton Feldman as an influence here. When the strings join, they add further atmosphere with mysterious shifting chords and shimmering effects. Use of electronics is sparse in Thunder Asunder, providing extra texture to the pizzicato strings at the start evoking the increasing raindrops, and Carr’s violin has folk tinges in its melodic lines. However, Deep in the Cloisters makes more significant use of electronics, with Carr playing violin and adding all the electronics here. It open with Pärt-like glassy strings, but then develops with low electronic drones and swelling waves, creating a very rich soundscape. Electronics feature again in Slightly Fitful, along with Carr on both piano and hammer dulcimer, creating a lighter, more meditative mood. Nocturnal Entomologyadds string improvisations to piano and dulcimer rhythmic backing, conjuring up cicadas, katydids and tree crickets. And finally, Just Before Dawn again puts string improvisations alongside Carr’s piano, here again showing the influence of Feldman, and there is a real sense here of those last nocturnal moments before a new day dawns, with increasing intensity and expectation over a tolling low piano bass note. Overall, there is a similar feel to many of the tracks here, but Carr’s use of different textures through addition of piano, dulcimer or electronics adds enough variety to sustain interest. The performances are clear and precise throughout, and the recorded sound is atmospherically warm and resonant, resulting in an engaging and effective evocation of the mysterious world of the night.