Saturday, January 02, 2010
The Sealed Knot - and we disappear (Another Timbre)
A fine live set, almost three year ago now, from a Swiss festival with Burkhard Beins (percussion, objects), Rhodri Davies (pedal harp and ebow) and Mark Wastell (double bass, bow, beaters). As in some of their previous work, one almost has the sense that the performance was composed, so cohesively does it play out. Beins is a master of injecting almost-rhythms into the mix 9perhaps abetted by the aforementioned beaters?) and the whole sound has a delightful sense of both space and propulsion, one instrument segueing into another, sending matters tumbling along. Wastell contributes some wonderful arco work, twined with Davies' ebow, getting into this luscious quasi-drone state, Beins' dry cymbals adding just the right amount of sandiness.
It builds to a brutal roar about 10 minutes from the end then subsides into a gentle ambiance of bells and soft plucks. A stunning recording and, incidentally, approachable enough to qualify as one of those you might foist on a friend who's expressed interest in the genre.
Lucio Capece/Lee Patterson - Empty Matter (Another Timbre)
Capece (soprano, bass clarinet, preparations, sruti box) and Patterson (CD players, pick-ups, e-bowed springrod, springplate, hazelnuts) are two favorite musicians of mine, so I was disappointed that this recording left me more or less unmoved. Despite the varied instrumentation, there's a sameness to the pieces--breathy reeds, sustained gravelly undertones (or feedback or granular textures) that's all well and good but maybe a bit too much of what I'd expect? Not enough of a push away from the comfortable? Any one of the eight pieces is ok (I enjoy the sruti-filled "Sostener" and the closing "Burning" the most), but together there's a sense of languishing, waiting for inspiration to kick in. I'd love to hear this pair give it another go.
Loris - The Cat on Cat Hill (Another Timbre)
The slow loris, of course, is a notably sluggish primate hailing from southeast Asia. Loris, here, is Patrick Farmer (natural objects, e-bow snare, tapes, wood), Sarah Hughes (chorded zither, piano, e-bow) and Daniel Jones (turntable, e-bow, piezo discs, electronics) and if they move slow (the don't really) they're thinking fast, pace Wolff, and the results are gorgeous. Enormous range of sounds, very open feel. How to quantify except to say that the choices made, subtle to brutal (and there's a surprising amount of fierceness in play here) seem utterly apt. The various flutterings and spare piano that begin the second cut, "Sophie", for example; the way the e-bow (?) intersects them. Each piece unfurls at its own pace, each telling a lovely, sometimes harsh story. Beautiful work, highly recommended.
Wade Matthews/Stéphane Rives - Аρέθουσα (Another Timbre)
"Arethusa" to the rest of us, a nymph from Greek mythology whose name means "the waterer". Matthews (software synthesis, field recordings) and Rives (soprano) kind of produce music along the lines I expected, the former eliciting rumbles, sometimes percolating, the latter high-pitched, rough-edged keens but it works well for the most part. Part of it, again, is the space between sounds (in retrospect, perhaps something that gnawed at me about the Capece/Patterson, that is, the lack of same), a nice sense of depth achieved. There's also a fine relaxedness about it, not something one always associates with Rives' work, a slow, steady pace that sits well. Good recording.
US distribution via erstdist