Monday, June 03, 2013

With Lumps (Neil Davidson/Fritz Welch) - Lumps for Lovin' (never come ashore)

Duos for guitar and percussion from 2011-12. My previous exposure to Davidson's work, on the Cthnor release and a couple of other items, gave me the impression of a fairly active improviser, a scrabbler of sorts, sometimes at the expense of thoughtfulness. Scurrying about and lack of care don't necessarily go hand in hand, of course, and some of the music presented here goes a long way toward negating any such presumption. The opening track, for instance, is quite busy but also very solid and imparting depth and resonance, with heavy buzzes oozing between the clatter and harsher rubbings. There's a thickness, an elasticity in play that breathes ideas into the music. The second cut, however, the inauspiciously titled "sign of the pagan", demonstrates the potential pitfalls of this approach, the incessant skronking and rumbling never quite gelling into anything more than itself and the "itself" not being of any great moment. "plinth glass nebula" fares a bit better, sawing wood given prominence, the guitar (?) creating bristling, finely uncomfortable clouds alongside, but petering out by its conclusion. The lengthy final cut, "National Bird of England" from 2012, contains welcome space, more air surrounding the instrumental sound and is pitched at a somewhat lower volume, all of which aid the cause immensely. Overall, a mixed bag for me but with some pointers toward a rewarding direction.

Muris with Lumps & Peter Nicholson - Michelada Miseries Part 1 (never come ashore)

A live date featuring a quartet of Davidson (acoustic guitar), Welch (percussion, amplifier), Peter Nicholson (voice, bowling) and Liene Rozite (anti flute). Always welcome to see not one, but two instrumental listings heretofore unknown...It's a pleasantly ramshackle affair, the sounds kind of tumbling out, rolling out, causing greater or lesser disturbances in the room. Nicholson's voice, surfacing periodically, is a connective element, warbling what seem to be snatches of either local (Scottish) song or, I sometimes get the impression, lieder from some source. The 32 minute set is similar to the last cut on the above release in that there's more space allowed and, implicitly, a greater consideration of the room. The sound range varies, no one is overly gabby and even the vocals, arch as they may be, manage to work out in this context, no mean feat for this listener's normal tolerance level. One of those seemingly casual sessions at which I oculd easily imagine myself, lolling about, enjoying as part of the larger environment, perhaps integrating sounds, sights and tactile sensations from outside the venue. Nice work.

never come ashore

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