Haptic - Scilens (Entr'acte/Flingco)
The band that refuses to disappoint.
As ever, tough to encapsulate short of mere descriptives. They're careful and quiet, yes, with something of a dronish character lurking about, though not so insistent as to make it a very conscious apprehension. It more involves the materials they choose to use in constructing these hums, rubbings, vibrations and how (for example, in the luscious opening track) they deposit small helpings of beautiful, clear piano, augmented by rougher, less clear string abrasion. On first blush, you (I) don't realize how much variation there is--a sign of great work: apparent simplicity made up of enormous complexity.
The fifth track gets rudely percussive for a bit, surging then receding then coming back again, before settling down. But it's a fine jostle amidst the general, wonderful haze. A "hidden" sixth cut zones out spectacularly, just a languorous throb amidst crickets and ice crystals.
Pali Meursault - Without the wolves (Entr'acte)
A really fascinating recording with an interesting arc. At the beginning of the first track, we hear a soft but quite detailed range of dripping sounds, reasonably dense but clear, augmented by similarly pitched glitches and cracks, with the odd metallic bang. It's very much of a piece and, in its fashion, rather steady state. I liked it very much and admired Mearsault's sticking to it for quite some time, allowing variations to creep in that didn't disturb the flow but rather focused the listener's attention here and there within the stream. Some 15 minutes in, however, it began to pall a bit. Something, something hard to pinpoint, was no longer clicking. A certain range of drops vanished, perhaps that was it, and I found it disquieting.
But this shift, relatively abrupt though it was, began to open up adjacent areas that, while quite different and becoming more so as the piece wore on, seemed somehow appropriate when the opening was reconsidered in hindsight. Bits of radio, whirring buzzes and all manner of detritus appear, eventually evanescing into the dark. Nice.
Second and third tracks have more of a field recording feel, from breathing and talking around a fire (?) with what sounds like a good bit of trudging around, to wind-whipped howls and dog yips, all, eventually fanning out into an ethereal ringing, quite beautiful.
I got pretty lost in this and enjoyed it a bunch.
Nick Storring - Rife (Entr'acte)
Storring is a Toronto-based cellist and electronicist and I think this is my first encounter with his music. It's a reasonably juicy one. The music also diverges from what might expect after the first few moments, when I was guessing at a post-modern cello set augmented by electronics, but occupying a fairly abstract area. Not so. Quite quickly, the kitchen sink is duly thrown in and the subsequent music incorporates eastern tropes, zither, lush electronica, beats and much else. If I had to make a single comparison, it would be to Fennesz, whose influence looms large, especially insofar as general tone, but Storring, in these ten tracks (which I read as a suite) is even less constrained, seemingly willing to drift wherever the "moment" takes him. This has its pluses and minuses. I find myself enjoying it in large part even as I question how much depth is there. It's sonic candy to an extent, tasty and easily digested if, perhaps, lacking in required vitamin department.
Still, well worth a listen and one of those discs that could provide a gentle avenue into deeper realms for innocent ears.