Monday, May 10, 2010
Jonathan McHugh/Mark Wastell - Hydriotaphia (confront)
Yes, yes, I had to look it up, though the "taph" was leading me down funereal pathways. McHugh, on ARP2600 and mixing desk, and Wastell, on tam tam, provide 3/4 of an hour of fantastically rich dronage. The slow throb. I'm not sure if McHugh is processing Wastell's sound or only generating his own but most of the non-cymbal presences, aside from some static and high-pitched sine-like tones, seems to reside in the metal-sheet area. With most music like this, much of the success lies in the layering, both the choices of timbres and the introduction and removal of elements--this pair accomplished that superbly. It's at once solid and aerated, pausing for breath, welling up and floating on. It has that kind of cloud aspect for me, some finely striated, complex gas approaching, hovering, passing by. Very, very enjoyable and thoughtful work.
confront, via Sound 323
Koboku Senjû - Selektiv hogst (Sofa)
Koboku Senjû is Tetuzi Akiyama (guitar), Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board), Espen Reinertsen (saxophones, flute), Eivind Lønning (trumpet) and Martin Taxt (tuba)--a wonderful mixture of textures, first of all. Those colors are always evident, enlivening a track or two that might otherwise stall a bit, but the better pieces, especially the first and last cuts, are small gems. Akiyama stays on acoustic and leans toward melodic blues references--this is key, I think, toward impelling the quintet into slightly more tonal waters, where the music really solidifies and takes off. Perfect balance is achieved by Toshi as well; he's really a central element here, his electronics leavening the horns. Reinertsen's saxophone gets a bit to saxophone-y in a Gustafsson sense on occasion, but the pieces are never less than satisfying and sometimes a good bit more. Something about the set reminded me, generally speaking, of the Beins/Neumann "lidingo" on Erstwhile; not sure what, exactly. Strong release, really fine at its peak, looking forward to seeing them in a few weeks.
They'll be performing, among other places in Philadelphia on May 28th. I'll be there.