Neo-klezmer artist Andy Statman makes an uneven set of discs

Though it proved to be impossible, mandolin and clarinet virtuoso Andy Statman’s two newest CDs were originally conceived as a double album. It was to be called “Two Sides of Andy Statman,” but the two sides’ differences were irreconcilable.

Had it even been possible, that title really wouldn’t have done the material justice. The resulting albums, titled “East Flatbush Blues” and “Awakening from Above,” aren’t just two different sides of Statman; they’re completely different genres, played on different instruments and exploring different universes.

While “Blues” features Statman on the mandolin playing a deeply soulful fusion of jazz and bluegrass (infused, at least slightly, with klezmer), “Awakening” is Statman on the clarinet interpreting old, mystical Chassidic spirituals (niggunim).

At times, the music on “Awakening” sounds so meditative and sparse that it feels impenetrable, as if in his improvisations Statman is communicating with God — and the conversation is private.

The album begins with a glissando reminiscent of “Rhapsody in Blue,” but whereas Gershwin’s piece quickly begins changing and moving toward its climax, there isn’t any build or release on “Awakening.”

There also isn’t much in the way of accompaniment; for much of the album, the recording is nothing but Statman and his clarinet.

Other times, Jim Whitney (bass) and Larry Eagle (percussion), the same musicians who play on “Blues,” accompany him — but their role here is limited. On “Merciful One, Answer Us,” Whitney provides only long, sustained low notes, while Eagle does cymbal rolls and, toward the end, lightly bangs a drum. In “Forshpiel/Improvisation,” the only sound besides clarinet is the repeated plucking of two notes on a mandolin.

Without an appreciation for Statman’s spirituality — or “spiritual” music in general — it may be hard to get through the CD. Its sound never fills out and it is virtually never driven by a beat (played or even implied).

“Rikkud/Dance,” a bare-bones klezmer piece, is the only time “Awakening” comes close to being grounded in the real world, though it’s still more numinous and dream-like than anything you’d hear at, say, a wedding.

Which brings up the fundamental difference between “Awakening” and “Blues” and the reason the two records were incompatible: One feels connected to the physical world, the other doesn’t.

On “Blues,” Statman evokes wide-open American landscapes, full of folktales and human drama, in a blend of bop and bluegrass so seamless it’s easy to forget the two genres were ever distinct.

While at its heart “Blues” is a jazz album full of chordal improvisation, its bluegrass aesthetic is what gives it a sense of place and time.

Beginning with “Rawhide!” a Bill Monroe cover, and continuing through the album’s 12 tracks, Statman, Whitney and Eagle transport you to a Depression-era South full of dusty roads and farmland. (In contrast, the only thing “Awakening” really evokes is a dark room and a night sky — fittingly, the disc’s cover art.)

As the album progresses the tracks become slower and moodier, until the end, when the deep, plucked bass and poignant mandolin strumming of “The ‘Sensitive’ Waltz,” a Statman original, gives the disc a proper sense of finality.

Statman recorded both albums inside Derech Emunah Synagogue in New York City, a setting befitting Chassidic sounds but a bit odd for the Southern swing of bluegrass.

But while it’s a bit weird that both recordings came from the same place, more than anything, it’s amazing that they came from the same person.