Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Patrick Farmer - Green rings around the eyes, this grass in vibrant motion. (nadukeenumono)
It's long been my belief that there are musicians who simply possess a high degree of musicality. Silly enough statement, I know. And even within that, of course, it's a musicality that happens to resonate with my ears, not necessarily yours, who bring to their work, however seemingly abstract, a logic or a poetic sense that matches, to some great extent, those found in my own synapses. I've always enjoyed Farmer's work, always found something of value, however obscure or slight were the elements that comprised it. I'd gotten used, in my limited exposure, to a reticent approach so this recording, a half-hour plus of rather violent pops and sputters interspersed with silences that seem to contain their own aggressiveness, while a significant departure from what I'd heard before, nonetheless has the same musicality (if you will) the same sense of rightness about it. Quantifying it is next to impossible and if I stand it, just for the sake of comparison, alongside of Rowe/Sachiko's 'contact', it's not to say it's at the same level--I don't think it is--but that it evinces a similar concern with the nexus of harsh sound and space, with not shying away from some tough problems of apparent discontinuity vs. the actual fluidity of the situation. To this listener, it works and works quite well; everything fits and, somehow, makes sense. A fine effort.
available from erstdist
Nicholas Szczepanik - Please Stop Loving Me (Streamline)
Coming from an utterly different direction but achieving a result that's just as excellent, is Szczepanik's intriguingly titled release. I've no idea as to the actual source(s) of the sounds, but the general result is a rich cream with an organ-y flavor, though one suspects there might be orchestral and choral elements, all combined and threshed via electronics. No matter, really. It's unavoidable to mention the Eno of "On Land" here (and even a taste of Brancan sonorities); there's a feel of some of the passages form that seminal work but much deeper and, if you will, more romantic. I use the term not only in deference to the disc's title but also in that I was reminded throughout of the work of Bernard Herrmann. While at one glance, it's drone-oriented and steady state, there's always numerous plies writhing beneath the surface and when they venture toward full audibility, they have something of that wrenching, almost melodramatic quality heard in Herrmann. This occurs most noticeably around 24 minutes (and it's stunningly gorgeous) in and you think, perhaps, the first portion was only a prelude, that there would be a shift, but not really. It just settles into an adjacent seethe. Unlike Farmer's, it's "easy" on the ears but there's just as much to explore, just as many surprises; you simply have to tilt your head differently. The lengthy diminuendo also has more going on "inside" it than might be apparent at first blush, more unsettling than you think. Very, very enjoyable.
I don't see it listed yet on the Streamline/Drag City page, but here's one place where you can learn more.
Adrian Dziewanski - Orbital Decay (Scrapyard Forest)
Not entirely dissimilar to Szczepanik's music, as it happens, Dziewanksi's work also resides in drone territory and one of its major strands is an organ-like hum, but there are both significant low pulses and, more prominently, a sparkling set of buzzes and trills atop, all forming a slow ebb and flow. It's fundamentally much more in the steady-state realm, though, essentially unchanging over its duration--the relationships between the sounds are altered, to be sure, but the basic character of the piece remains very much the same throughout, at least as far as I can hear. All well and good and it's a pleasant confluence of sounds but I wanted more--either a variation in structure that had more resonance or the integration of sonic elements with a somehow rougher character. OK, but needs more street.