Sunday, December 12, 2010
Stephen Cornford/Samuel Rodgers - Zinc [extracts] (Consumer Waste)
A delightful jewel, this 3" collaboration between Cornford (piano feedback) and Rodgers (piano, objects). Three cuts, about three, seven and ten minutes, forming a very lovely and full suite, the feedback imparting a strong but not too obtrusive scrim in which the tingling and buzzing sounds created inside the piano by Rodgers become embedded, slip out, catch again further on. The elements are delicately distributed but are themselves quite vibrant and tangy, making for a wonderful yin/yang, tickling the ear while stopping just short of scraping it. Put it this way: without entering his particular melodic territory, it's the kind of music I could imagine Tilbury creating, high praise indeed. Get it while it lasts--at 100 copies it may not be for long.
Alfredo Costa Monteiro - Aura (Etude)
Actually something of a duo as the source sounds for "Aura" were performed by percussionist Pilar Subira, the results edited by Costa Monteiro so as to cut "the attack at the point where the impact disappears and the harmonics start, keeping only the natural resonance and decay of the sound." [Costa Monteiro's notes]
Given that, it's not surprising that what one hears is a sequence of hums resulting, often from bowed metal, at some times silvery and glistening, at others dark and foreboding. There are a couple of brief volume surges but by and large, we're talking quiet, rich, acoustic drones. At 51 minutes, it palls a bit if one is listening very attentively, but it works fine as a domestic aural tinge. Not my favorite work from Costa Monteiro by any means--I think I prefer when he balances between this kind of area and brutalism--but not bad.
I'm not really interested in reviewing it as such but just wanted to make a general comment about the current incarnation of AMM, especially when they perform without guests, as on this new release. That is: I find myself listening almost entirely to Tilbury. His presence and extraordinary musicality simply cause the music to wobble out of balance. AMM needs a Rowe to act as a counterweight; Prevost isn't enough and, unfortunately, gets relegated to a kind of background noise. At the end of the concert here, Tilbury is so ridiculously beautiful that almost any additional contribution is beside the point. I think only Rowe, by insisting on interjecting a kind of real world harshness into the proceedings, would provide an element that could actually enhance the music, give it an additional dimension.
Very curious to get reports of the pair's concert this weekend at Instants Chavirés.