Monday, July 02, 2012

Pascal Battus/Alfredo Costa Monteiro- fêlure (Organized Music from Thessaloniki)

The first definition of fêlure I came across was "crack" but a subtler one is "a soulful tremor". Nice. The first of four tracks here indeed evokes something of the sort, Battus' "rotating surfaces" and Costa Monteiro's amplified paper summoning up a windswept, barren landscape wherein it's not difficult to ascribe the soft moans heard as issuing from some forlorn creature. The storm soon kicks up however, and we're into a dry, howling vortex. Dryness is an operative word here and in a good sense. Whatever the rotating surfaces employed, they sound smooth but unoiled, bearing a certain amount of grain, set up against the almost necessarily sere sounds of paper being manipulated in who-knows-what manner. It's a winning combination, managing to create a sound world that's sandy and arid but clear and bracing at the same time. It can get relentless in a way that pure noise fans will appreciate but the subtlety is never lost, the detail always precise. But it can also wander down a more contemplative trail, as in the final cut, abuzz and grinding, but in small circles and curlicues, spitting the occasional spark but in well-considered bursts. Very strong concluding piece, beautifully drawn, and a solid album overall.

organized music from thessaloniki

Fergus Kelly - A Congregation of Vapours (farpoint recordings)

A very enjoyable and surprising effort from Mr. Kelly, eight tracks, vaguely separated, that go places I didn't expect. It launches with some severely bumpy and staticky burbling, sure to wake up the casual listener and I strapped myself in for a raucous ride only to find, several minutes later, very much like a subsiding rainstorm, the sounds slowly drained out, leaving the odd spatter, revealing a highway which, in turn, subsides to a deep hum and tailing whine. Things become very quiet, very "night has fallen", with soft hoots and gentle crackles. This quiet mood lingers and it's quite beautiful, very mysterious and alluring, a faint rhythm, a hum, a distant turbine, very spacious and oddly tense. It gradually grows more active but often, and I mean this as a compliment, I find myself losing track as it blends into my own environment. When i become conscious of it again, it's like a small wonder.

There's more--helicopter-like flutters, Morse-codey blips, foghorns--quite a flurry there for a while before once again, drifting into an eerie quietude, those 'copter wings still heard, though farther away, nearer activity involving metal containers--one senses a narrative though it's too dark to see. Indecipherable voices just before a final struck metal. Why this mix of sounds (Kelly listed as using speaker feedback, no-input mixing board, D14 electronics, amplified metals, field recordings and processing) strike me as so cinematic, it's hard to say but it certainly does; I picture all sorts of intense, withdrawn activity taking place, just wihin the range of one's sight and hearing. It disappears like ghost.

Excellent recording, please do give a listen.


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