Sunday, October 27, 2019

Nick Storring - Qualms  (Never Anything Records)

A wildly entertaining if difficult to pin down solo venture from Storring. 'Qualms' is a single piece, spanning both sides of the cassette, on which Storring wields cello (electric and acoustic), other strings including guitar, keyboards, a vast array of percussion and more. The music has one foot in a kind of post-In C minimalism--there are moments that almost sound like they might have been lifted from a variant In C performance, in fact--and several others  (it's at least insectile, if not centipedal) in adjacent areas including one that owes something to Southeast Asian traditions. The generally shimmering percussion, all light bells and transparent wooden tappings, rolls over liquid, string-generated drones, nodding in passing to Balinese and Javanese music, even evoking Laotian mouth organ music at one point, but joyfully moving to its own rhythms and harmonies. On the one hand, it's kind of steady-state but within 'Qualms' are any number of sections and shifts, fades and re-emergences, dreamlike. There's generally a pulse (the piece was written to accompany choreography for Yvonne Ng), at least implied when slowed to a breathing pace, but often enough up front, always airy and fluttering, never remotely leaden; this is particularly the case on Side B, during the episode that's most reminiscent of the Riley opus.

Overall, 'Qualms' is an intoxicating pleasure, offering both a surface beauty and a wealth of fascinating details to investigate. Well worth hearing.

Never Anything Records


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