Anne Guthrie/Richard Kamerman - Sinter (erstaeu)
Something very cool about erstaeu 002's existing in such a different world than its numeric predecessor (and 003 is altogether different as well). After the sublime compressive intensity of "Dystonia Duos", "Sinter" injects vast amounts of oxygen into the room, air swirling and echoing in huge spaces, light shimmering and hazy. In metallurgical terms, sintering is the making of objects from powder and "powdery", especially with a metallic connotation, isn't the worst term you could use for much of this music. Field recordings (and, per the sleeve, "domestic recordings") are mixed with electronics throughout; nary a French horn in sight though I think I pick up a bit of Kamerman's small clattering devices here and there.
Describing the music is another matter, though. The interior drawing behind the disc seems a decent descriptor, both loose-limbed and gangly but, in its particulars, very structurally sound. The location recordings tumble through, knock into one another, get subsumed by electronics, reappear in another atmosphere--all very dream-logicky, seeming to be sensible but resistant to easy back-formation. In performance, I've often enjoyed the way Kamerman wouldn't distinguish between the "music" and incidental noises he'd make in the course of sound generation (placing a disused object on a table, not minding the resultant, very noticeable click, moving a chair with its frictional moan, etc.) and one gets the sense of that here as well, of a pair of people moving about in the course of creating other stuff. I can imagine someone thinking of Unami now and then, but this work is fuller, always with subtle things taking place in the background or right alongside. When Kamerman (I assume), softly counts off sequences of numbers during "Civil Twilight 5:23", there's almost an eavesdropping feeling, as if he's privately enumerating something, not realizing he's speaking aloud. Quite magical.
"Origami 1/5" is oddly fascinating--steady-state in a manner of speaking, the rustling (of paper? cassette tape?) remaining fairly constant and crisp throughout, a thin sine-like tone sputtering behind, a faint speaker hum always there. Intriguing balance between activity (even hyper-activity) and a pervasive sense of calm, beautifully sustained for over 13 minutes. The last cut, "Several or Many Fibers", almost seems epic, of great volume but transparent, like a Turner; hollow, distant echoes, passing voices, obfuscated urban sounds, clangs and taps as from a restaurant kitchen, an underlying, whirling tone as though someone's playing an early, undiscovered Terry Riley tape a few doors down. Cinematic to the extreme. It proceeds so naturally, so unhurriedly but with items of interest every step of the way, in every direction, like some marvelous stroll. An extraordinary piece capping one of the finest recordings I've heard in quite a while. Excellent work.