Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sébastien Branche - Ligne irrégulière (CDR)

A fine, concentrated set of solo saxophonics from Branche. Can we use the term "post-Doneda" yet. It is probably an unfair singling out (doubtless there were other antecedents), but he was the first saxophonist I happened to hear, in the late 90s, where the idea of the instrument as a hollow tube of metal was thrust to the forefront. Branche focuses on a particular area in each of the five tracks, always deliberate even as the volume swells. The first ponders hollow key pops, a technique we've all heard before but, crucially, as is the case with all cuts, is embedded into a form that has its own life, sometimes almost suggesting a song. After the initial percussing, Branche interpolates a very low, circularly-breathed hum (I'm guessing tenor sax, though it's not indicated), creative a cavernous effect, the pops lodging into and rolling atop the thrum, the latter taking on a didjeridoo character. The next is also a multiphonic drone (as is much of the album), a mid-range, raw, quavering hum sandwiched between hoarse breath above and the occasional low intrusion. As throughout the disc, circular breathing is employed but, more importantly, really exquisite control with the overtones, wresting an endlessly fascinating series of sounds from an ostensibly narrow spectrum. Another, different, deep drone begins the third track, soon accompanied by insectile taps and scratches, like a thin dowel gently striking the saxophone exterior. The playing remains calm even as the volume increases steadily, reaching a point where the vibrations from the instrument are causing distortion in the mics attached, the whole contraption seemingly on the verge of dissolution. Again, great control and single-mindedness, wonderfully absorbing sound. After a lovely, quieter piece that features brushy noises with a strange ringing sound, Branche concludes with a return to the hyper-deep buzzes encountered earlier, even more intense and speaker-worrying, a very alive sound with more than enough tonal shading and gristle to allow intense aural inspection.

"Ligne irrégulière" is very well though out, strongly rendered album, great investigative feel, as though Branche is discovering these worlds as he goes. If you've any interest in saxophone extensions and think there's still life in that old beast yet, don't let this one escape.

Branche's website

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

[Entr'acte seems to have departed from its former disc wrappings, that metallic/plastic deal with info printed directly on. Current sleeves are hard paper, black with the catalog number in large white letters. I've chosen to illustrate the releases with the image that appears on Entr'acte's website]

" "[sic]Tim Goldie/Daniel Beban - SLAKES (Entr'acte)

My sole experience with Goldie, as near as I can recall, was as the less interesting half of Deflag Haemorrhage/Haien Kontra with Mattin at Issue Project Room a few years back. While Mattin was, in this case, interestingly provocative (not allowing people to sit--forcibly pushing off a chair one attendee who insisted--, endangering eyes and other head parts with collapsing music stands and describing, by name, the actions of certain audience members) Goldie, wearing camouflage gear, largely stalked the floor in a mock Frankenstein manner (something, judging by some photos on the Entr'acte site, he's yet to give up on). It was pretty aggravating. Things are better here partially, I'm guessing, as we're spared the visuals but also, presumably, due to Beban's participation. Goldie's largely, not exclusively, on drums, Beban on guitar, voice and other instruments.

Three CDs worth then, along with a book-sized volume which contains a page of text for each of the 85 tracks; titles or not it's tough to say, but I'll go along with that. Words, phrases, mostly English, some French or German, some palindromes, internal repetition, all in caps. The music? My first thought was some of the more out percussion pieces by Sun Ra from the mid to late 60s, without any African allusions but with a similar looseness and dark, underlying texture, here including deep scrapes and metallic groans. They actually hit some near grooves, and fine ones, on occasion as on the third track, Disc One--I can imagine being quite pleasurably immersed in this in a live situation, amidst the throbs and pushing pulse. Others remind me a bit of Ascension (Jaworzyn, not Coltrane) and that whole Isolationist/noise vibe form the 90s--molded into a somewhat more song-oriented form, you might find Caspar Brotzmann/FM Einheit lurking around here. There's a healthy dose of raw noise as well as some not terribly subtle quieter moments (not that subtlety is a goal here). On its own terms, the music flows well enough, is sequenced in a way that holds some interest, though I miss even any attempt at real provocation a la Mattin. Do we need three full CDs worth? No. Not much for my taste though others may revel.

Mark Schreiber - Croassarc Chute (Entr'acte)

A brief (23-minute) set of processed electronics. As is all to often the case, the sounds are quite redolent of early (50s-60s) electronic music albeit less awkward, more silky smooth--not necessarily a good thing. It's full of flutters, echoed patterns that flit by like swallows or gnats, loom in from the distance, hurtle past, generally with an interior pulse. The sound field is almost always occupied, with an attack ranging from skitterish to watery; I'm thinking Joan Mitchell abstraction but without the ecstatic coloration. Here it's more Georges Mathieu, splashy and vibrant but ultimately insubstantial. I admit to a lack of understanding as to why exploration along this avenue is still pursued, but perhaps it's just me. One desperately wants to hear more grit, more false starts, more wonder.

Kyle Bruckmann - Technological Music Vol. 1 (Entr'acte)

Well, there's decidedly more grit and uncertainty to Bruckmann's foray into pulse-based electronic music. He sets himself the quixotic task of, to some extent, replicating the throb effects of various dance forms without the use of drum machines or sequencers, relying only on his trustworthy oboe and English horn, analog synths and "malfunctioning" electric organs and pianos. One might ask, regardless of success rate, whether or not this is a goal worth spending time on and I suppose the answer might depend on one's susceptibility to the charms of said dance music. My own is pretty much nil so, while the music lopes and trundles by in an engaging manner, it's hard for me to get excited about it. There is a nice wheeze factor, sometimes the reeds, others (I imagine) one of the organs, making for the rather humorous image of an arthritic techno aficionado gamely sticking with his chosen art form and, I should say, the sounds are entirely pleasant and surprisingly non-obnoxious, just inhabiting an area that it's hard for me to drum up (so to speak) much enthusiasm. Your voltage may vary.

Andrew Leslie Hooker - In Emptiness There is Truth (Entr'acte)

A work designed for the Italian Ravello Festival, this is a recording that begs to be experienced in situ. Hooker, via a large array of recorders, tapes, computers and mics, constructs a ghostly swirl of winds and disembodied voices--too stereotypically ghostly, perhaps--that one can imagine flowing across and through a large interior space. Within this, Seijiro Murayama contributes vocalizations--hoarse croaks, frail whinnies, etc. It's all very much of a piece; what variation is found comes courtesy of Murayama and that's minimal enough. You really want to be able to walk around amidst all this, probably in the dark, to perhaps have those croaks emitted from various points--could be spooky enough. Much less immersive, necessarily, when experienced via speakers in the comfort of one's home. [an aside: shortly after listening to the Hooker disc for the last time, Jeph Jerman's "Lithiary" happened to surface on my shuffle, 46 minutes of the "same" sound, small stones being gently tossed about on a moving shelf. But so much not the same! Something, perhaps, to be said on the virtues of acoustic sameness versus the electronic variety]

Shelley Parker - Sleeper Line (Entr'acte)

Here's an example of a disc whose music lies well outside of my normal parameters but which I nonetheless find absorbing and highly enjoyable. Parker creates five tracks on this EP, each of which dwelling in a beat-laden atmosphere, but one in which the pulses are very slow, somewhere less than 60bpm, sometimes much less, usually imbued with both massive bass underpinnings and a sizzle of irregular grime atop. The slowed tempo and the elements chosen combine to form a luscious, lava-like flow, forming an endless stream of surges that encrust, break, encrust, break, iterating but accreting variances as they go. There are doubtless more appropriate references but if you imagine some of Laswell's dark ambient 90s work and then up the quality level three or fourfold, you'll be in the vicinity. An odd combination of rich and desolate--I like it a lot, can only imagine hearing it live, worrying about dislodging embolisms...Great stuff.

Adam Asnan - Inconsistent Images (Entr'acte/Senufo Editions)

I know Asnan from his work with the trio VA AA LR (with Vasco Alves and Louie Rice--this is rather different from their music. The site describes the three pieces as musique concrète but the immediate sensation is one of advanced glitch and it's really fascinating, dense but fluid, busy but unforced, a quasi-tonal repeated thread running through silvery and rapid electronic noise with bass blasts more felt than heard. That textural range is beautifully presented (partially due to Giuseppe Ielasi's mastering, I'm guessing); there's a vast sonic distance between sounds. Track one recalls Tudor but more slippery while the other two seem to have at least a portion of their source in string work of some kind (cello or bass?). I was reminded a bit of the classic, late 90s work of John Wall here and there but this music is more visceral, extremely present and, for lack of a better term, three-dimensional. You feel as though you can reach into the air and surround it with your hands. Fine work, wonderfully unspooled, utterly captivating--one of my favorite things this year.


Senufo Editions

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ian Rawes/London Sound Survey - These Are the Good Times (Vittelli)

So here I am, trying to make qualitative sense of the post-Cagean field recording world wherein, among other issues, one's ears become attuned the wealth of sound in any arbitrarily chosen situation and this tasty item appears, proudly "old-fashioned" insofar as targeting specific "interesting" sound-worlds, creating just the sort of post card compendium that you'd think we'd grown away from. Yet it works, dammit, it certainly works.

The 21 tracks on this LP date from 2009-2012. I think it fair to say that even those of us who try to experience the surrounding world with some amount of aural equanimity are still embedded enough in the day to day world that we're drawn to noise with specific form, often social in one respect or another. These tracks are like that, the kind of scenes that would naturally attract attention. Sometimes this means performances of a sort, whether a Caribbean song gathering, a trumpeter busking or a street poet. Other times it's the general clamor of early morning in an urban area, the clatter and gab in a cafe or birds mixing with sirens from a refinery. Then there are the odd micro-worlds of a flying ants' nest or the sonar clicks from a bat. Rawes writes, "Some of these London sounds were found by design and others mainly by luck, but none were collected in a purely random way. Everyone sets out to record with an agenda." That's at least part of the interest here, the sense that the collector is pursuing sonic game, though this may well clash with the ideals of many a modern field recordist. Another key factor is that, unlike most disc-length field recordings that cross my desk, the tracks here are short, often about a minute long, rarely more than three, creating a very songlike feeling, a choice that works beautifully. As well, the recording quality itself is excellent (the pieces were mastered by Graham Lambkin), always embedding the central focus, whether a trumpeter playing 'Ave Maria', someone wielding a dickeybird whistle or cadging cigarettes into the broader context, really cementing them there, in fact. And that polyphon music box!

Some of the best "songs" I've heard this year, in fact. It's a real jewel in this area, quite apart from most; don't let it slip by.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beuger - l'Innomable

Antoine Beuger - sixteen stanzas on stillness and music unheard (l'Innomable)

One of the quandaries I have, as a listener, when experiencing the music of Beuger and like-minded composers is the unavoidable reactive variation between simply hearing the music "innocently" and knowing something about the score and the composer's intentions. In a live situation, this is interesting enough, though I can't go back and revisit the music once (as is typical) I take a peek at the score or talk with the composer/instrumentalist(s) after the event. On disc, a was the case this time, I'll typically listen a number of times knowing nothing about the work other than is indicated on the sleeve--I hadn't read Greg Stuart's notes on the l'Innomable site--and then, often, try to ferret out some information as to the structure, intent, realization, etc. Inevitably, I then hear the work differently. I'm never sure whether this is "good" or "bad", but it's definitely the case.

"sixteen stanzas on stillness and music unheard" dates from 2003 and was designed for "sixteen instruments of the same kind". Here, Stuart plays all parts on bowed vibraphone. The score calls for the performers to be arrayed around the audience, so our listening experience is substantially different from the original intentions. The sixteen stanzas each consist of seven whole notes; stanzas 1-5 are played by all sixteen instrumentalists in unison (or close to unison; they're given, not surprisingly, some leeway in how close they approach the notated pitch and which octave to use), stanzas 6-8 by two octets playing two different lines, stanzas 9-10 by four quartets playing four different lines, stanza 11 by eight duos playing eight different lines and stanzas 12-16 by 16 "soloists" each playing a different line; there are substantial spaces between stanzas. As Stuart mentions, even though the vibraphone wasn't tuned differently for each stanza, microtonal fluctuations were inevitable due to variables such as position in the stereo field and other studio ephemera.

So that's the nuts and bolts--what does one hear? Periodic clouds of sound, growing increasingly, though subtly complex as the piece progresses. The bowing eliminates any percussive attack--I initially thought e-bows might have been used, but that's not the case--resulting in shimmering masses that are both overtly attractive and rather obscure, the various superimposed notes creating a kind of haze. You know when you're trying to see a faint star and find that it's more easily seen when looked at indirectly? I find the music hear more enjoyable when heard that way, listened to in a glancing manner. Concentrating on it is tough; the sounds resist the kind of mental categorization that, unfortunately but all too commonly, is a part of the listening process. In this case, it's almost certainly a recording artifact. Were I situated amidst sixteen players and (more) aware of the spatial aspects and the direct play of microtones on my eardrums from various directions, it would be a drastically different experience. Here, localized in two speakers, I find it preferable to remove myself a bit, to (for example) go out on the balcony which is nearby my desk in our new digs, to hear this ghostly emanation coming from inside the room, coloring the exterior sound world. Though, as the polyphony increases, I'm aware that I'm missing out on a huge amount of subtlety. Frustrating! As with much of Beuger's music (and interpretations thereof) there's a vast amount of complexity lurking beneath a deceivingly simple surface. It's harder than you think but very, very human. Excellent work, hear it.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pilgrim Talk

Nick Hoffman - Bruiser (Pilgrim Talk)

Hoffman's disc begins rather disconcertingly, with a spray of percolating electronics that immediately conjures up aural images of 70s sci-fi flicks, the psychedelic sounds an electronic brain would make while going haywire. In several seconds, though, it subsides into a dark, low set of tones quite at variance with those sounds, setting up a tasty dichotomy on the short track and leading one to what follows. Hoffman includes the inscription: Rules: Computer sets frequency, composer sets duration. I take it, then, that a program chooses when to switch attacks (the four pieces are subtitled, "sine", "square", "fm" and "mix", indicating, in three out of four instances anyway, the source of the tones). This removal of direct human intervention, in the case of sound like these, works pretty well, eliminating easy drama, requiring the listener to simply experience the sounds in succession. If anything, it might be the nature of the sounds, very "cold" in a sense, that could put some folk off. I was reminded of Marcus Schmickler's solo efforts of the last decade, tough nuts to worm one's way into (I note that these tracks were recorded in 2008, mixed and mastered this year). Then again, amidst the all the harshness, something incredible appears like the pings at the close of "Green Dust", wavelets that do marvelous things to one's ears. The longer title cut uses more varied sources, including field recordings, and somehow seems more "humanly" edited, the pieces flowing into one another less abruptly. It's very satisfying, a real strong track, and contrasts well with the preceding three. A good, tough recording, well worth hearing.

Coppice - Epoxy (Pilgrim Talk)

Utterly without intention, Coppice's "Epoxy" offers an example of intuitive use of diverse sounds that, while not unenjoyable, fails to connect to these ears as strongly as the programmed portions of Hoffman's disc (I'm guessing this will be a minority opinion). A cassette release consisting or two (or more?) trio versions of a piece called "Seam", as performed by some combination of Coppice proper (Noé Cueller and Joseph Kramer on bellows-oriented devices and electronics, assisted in some unspecified manner by Carol Genetti, Sarah J. Ritch, Berglind Tómasdóttir and Julia A. Miller) recorded in 2011-12. The music is fairly continuous and ropey, often rough-edged in nature, raspy and nodose; at lower volume levels, a hollow eeriness appears, sometimes recalling theremins from old horror films. A throb of sorts tends to be present, imparting a vague industrial aspect especially given the grimy nature of sounds. There are abrupt cessations, the music picking up in an entirely other nature yet, somehow, the feel I get is of more control and choice than in the earlier disc. Of course, this can and often is a fine thing but, perhaps unduly influenced by "Bruiser", I found I wanted to hear less of that, more impersonality. Tough to quantify--on the second cut, I'm reminded a bit of the NYC branch (Kamerman, Rosenberg, etc.) but without the kind of nonchalant incision that marks the best of their work. I don't mean to be so down--it's really a solid recording and I'm sure there will be others that get deeply into it more than I. It's just that I felt the elements could have been marshaled more powerfully with greater clarity and concentration. Please hear for yourself, though.

Pilgrim Talk

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ewen/Smith - Background Information

Sandy Ewen/Damon Smith - Background Information (Balance Point Acoustics)

This release is unusual, for me, for a couple of reasons. One, I'm writing about it based on downloaded sound files heard over my Macbook, something I prefer not to do for obvious sound quality reasons but, that's how it was presented so all caveats therein apply. Second, the duo, guitar and bass with objects, laptop and field recordings, at least abuts on an area that I'm less than comfortable with, the more fervently active area of free improv, that space where my subjective sense iis one of claustrophobia, where, despite the appellation 'free improv' there exist entire worlds of sound that simply won't be admitted. I don't know Ewen's work as near as I can recall, but I've heard an amount of Smith's over the years and have noted that he often straddles these fussy divides, working with Rowe here, Kaiser there, etc. So I was intrigued. As is usually the case, matters are more complicated than easy preconceptions.

The first of four tracks indeed begins in that scratchy realm, the pair sounding as though irritating their strings with combs or other thin, plastic objects. It's an active, prickly 'scape, the sort I often lose patience with. about midway through its 21 minutes, however, the pair ratchet things down just a tad and it's enough to veer the music (to my ears) into a much more enjoyable area, one adjacent to the quite/rough work Rowe has been doing in recent years (with Sachiko M on "contact", for example). Later, some plucks acquire a crystalline aspect that's quite appealing, though the agitative approach also regains sway; an interesting, expansive track though, even if it gave me some agita. The second track begins even more forthrightly in the scratchy zone before veering abruptly into some deliciously sour dronage; again, a half and half experience for this listener. Similarly, even more so, for the next piece, ranging from more extreme assertiveness to delicate plinking over distant, tolling tones; I want to hear more space--the guitar especially, in those otherwise very attractive latter moments, feels intrusive and inconsiderate though, again, the very last sounds, over Smith's rich arco, are delightful. The final cut doesn't stray far either, more brutally rubbed strings here--you can feel catgut straining.

There's a sameness of surface that nags at me here. Every time I pick up Smith's beautiful low playing, I want more and I want it surrounded by either simply the room or adjacent to a companion who's willing to lay out more than Ewen. That approach, though, is very much in keeping with a certain method of attack and it's done quite well; it's just not my particular cuppa. As is, there are nuggets to extract here and "Background Information" is worth hearing, even by those who share my inclinations, if only to shake it up a bit. I'm guessing Smith is quite aware of these issues, perhaps doesn't consider them issues at all. Listened to as a kind of counter-argument to my preconceived notions, it's good, wry fun.

But you can hear for yourself here at Balance Point Acoustics.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another Timbre, August 2013

Antoine Beuger - Cantor Quartets (Another Timbre)

Admirers of Beuger have had little to complain about recently, this fine release coming on the heels of the Pisaro/Beuger collaboration on Erstwhile and just preceding a new one on l'Innomable. An excess of evanescent riches.

You can see a description of the piece here as well as a copy of the score. As noted, four pages out of 15 are presented on two discs here, the performances taking between 34 and 40 minutes each, presented by the rather stellar quartet of Jürg Frey (clarinet), Sarah Hughes (e-bow zither), Dominic Lash (double bass) and Radu Malfatti (trombone). Even without the explanation, the music is extremely transparent, the long, soft notes, in unison or adjacent octaves, accreting gradually, with vast silences between, the sounds emerging and disappearing like 15 minutes of morning light patterns on a wall. (looking at the Dan Flavin installation at Dia Beacon last week, I was strangely reminded of Beuger's music, though mentally substituting--if this is conceivable--a range of whites instead of Flavin's candy tones) Even more so than with much of Beuger's music, or related work, the listener is virtually forced to consider surrounding environmental sounds; more often than not, I find them to be central, tinged by Beuger's. This morning, someone in an apartment on our street was playing what sounded like a Middle Eastern flute, perhaps a ney; it meshed beautifully, as do cars and street sweepers. I was often unaware when a disc had ended.

I can imagine that performing the work is an exacting affair. So odd, and wonderful, that listening to it is the opposite.

Christoph Schiller - Variations (Another Timbre)

I still have some difficulty coming to terms with Schiller's music, probably due in large part to a genetic dispositive aversion to all things harpsichordian. (I find various definitions of "spinet", though most indicate at least a strong affinity to the harpsichord). As much as someone like Schiller does to mask it, that metallic buzz seeps in an incurs memories of everything from cheesy horror films to Paul Mauriat's "Love Is Blue". I do try to persevere, however. These variations comprise seven pieces, all between five and six minutes, and, in fact, form a progression from spinet to objects to piano in a symmetrical sequence (s/2s/so/oo/op/pp/p), largely utilizing extended techniques but with the occasional rich chord plunked down. I prefer the latter portions, the richness of the piano(s) simply more appealing to these ears, even when infiltrated with objects that cause vibrations not so dissimilar to the spinet. There's a bit too much scrabbling about in some parts but when Schiller pauses and listens, as in Variations 6 & 7, the results are entrancing. Curious to hear more and would like very much to catch Schiller in concert; I've a sense that many of these sounds would tickle my ears more in a live setting.

Anders Dahl & Skogen - Rows (Another Timbre)

I was one of the few listeners to have a so-so reaction to the previous Skogen release, which appeared on any number of year's best lists. Well, I enjoy this one a good bit more even if I still somehow expect more, especially given the participants: Angharad Davies (violin), Magnus Granberg (piano, clarinet), Ko Ishikawa (sho), Anna Lindal (violin), Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board), Henrik Olsson (bowls, glasses) and Peter Wästberg (contact mic, objects, feedback) with Eric Carlsson (percussion) on two cuts.. Here they perform nine "rows" (apparently extracted from a lengthy series) by Anders Dahl, shortish tracks lasting between two and eight minutes. I take it scores are involved, possibly graphic, but the pieces share a certain sensibility--calm but very concerned with sound color and differentiation, the long tones of the strings, sho and glassware blending with harsher, more abrupt ones from contact mic, piano, etc., though the instrument swap these sort of roles regularly. On "Row 35, for instance, the piano and glass strike ringing, pure tones whilst scrabbling goes on around them, eating away at their clear surfaces. "Row 24" also plays with that kind of contrast, here between strings/sho and electronic crackles/percussion. The brevity of the tracks imparts a jewel-like character to the piece, something from which they benefit; there's a nice concision in play. I might have liked to hear more variation in the works though their similarity may be in keeping with Dahl's use of the term "row". An enjoyable effort, one that wormed its way onto my good side after several listens.

Another Timbre

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Address

All you kind people who send music my way, please note my new address, effective immediately:

Brian Olewnick
2 Rue Adolphe Mille
Paris 75019

thanks very much and thanks for all the wonderful music.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

this place/ is love

Antoine Beuger/Michael Pisaro - this place/is love (Erstwhile)

The work begins in very un-Wandelweiser fashion, with a strong note played on, I think, a harpsichord (prepared spinet?), quite forthrightly. After several identical notes, a recording of an interior space enters and a surprising sequence of chords occurs, four of them, very romantic in nature. Four more follow, belying the first quartet, somewhat sour, then three more, ambiguously between the first two sets in feeling.

So begins "this place/is love" a kind of quiet epic (76 minutes in length) that, as with much or Pisaro's recent work, resists easy encapsulation or structural grasp. I say "Pisaro" as I have the impression that the more strictly musical elements of the piece strike me as stemming more from him than Beuger, where the latter contributed the words, both his own and those from other authors (Anna Swir, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge and Edmond Jabès) and perhaps the overall idea as well, I'm not sure. Blindfolded, I would have pegged this as Pisaro. Whatever the case, the composition is very expansive, the structures large enough to make glimpsing them in their entirety a task that's often beyond me. I'm told that in the first half or more of the piece, the elements repeat twice (some I can hear, some escape me) in waves, while in the latter portion elements are subtracted out; this last is apparent as sounds become far sparser in closing 20-odd minutes.

THe music unfurls calmly, each section lapping over its predecessor, reminding me of wax collecting at the base of a candle. The words are either spoken (often in a dreamily sing-song fashion that recalls Cage) or intoned, always softly and slowly. Perhaps the most jarring elements are those intonations which take some getting used to and connote memories of other music, some of which might be off-putting; some will doubtless hit on monastic singing though I make the weird association with some of the vocal segments of Centipede's "Septober Energy" so be forewarned. There's very much a sense of them sliding past each other and the adjacent sounds, like twigs and leaves flowing downstream at slightly different rates. The words center around aspects of love, including purity (even virginity), longing, the concept of "trace", ultimately channeling into the single Jabès line: "this place is love. it is absence of place".

For listeners familiar with the work of either creator, especially Pisaro, the various sounds employed will be familiar: smoothly modulated sine tones, nondescript (but fascinating) field recordings, single, pristine guitar notes, extended silences; that harpsichord is the one that stands out as unusual. But of course it's not about audio novelty but the sequencing and layering of those sounds and, here especially, their resonance with the text. To my ears this is brilliantly accomplished, in a, for lack of a better term, poetic manner that's next to impossible to quantify. A touchy subject, full of pitfalls, but they manage to avoid sentimentality while remaining subtly moving. It's certainly a contemplative, even melancholy appreciation of the emotion, not an aggressive, bodily-fluid approach, something that some listeners may find wanting (art gallery vs. the streets).

The work gradually dissipates, mere wisps of sound circulating amidst lengthy periods of silence. There's a sequence of isolated, identical guitar notes, one every 25-30 seconds, plus an extended silence or two, that essentially closes out the work, leading to that final, slow and considered reading by Beuger.

This recording won't, I don't think, change the minds of those engaged in recent Wandelweiserian debates on IHM and, more recently, on the eai Facebook page. I find it both elusive and fascinating, sometimes vaguely irritating (the intonations) but always recouping and retrospectively framing those portions in a way that satisfies. I wish I was able to "stand back" at more distance and really appreciate the form; will have to work on that. I've listened about a dozen times and have always enjoyed it, even after it "leave[s] no trace, like birds in the sky".