Saturday, 30 January 2010

Entranced At The End Of January


An unassuming, but interesting enough recording mainly constructed with – guess what – sounds from the composer’s house. Mostly tending to the drone area (Shenton had released his first record on Ian Holloway’s Quiet World), the CD does contain a handful of absorbing moments. “Househum” is a rather involving hypnotic growth of not-so-gentle superimpositions of static buzz, powerful subsonic pulse and other indefinable layers, “When Swoosh Comes To Shove” a paradigmatic dark ambient episode with reverberant percussive traits and ominous tones. Then, a few environmental niceties with birds and all the rest, an abstract electronica-cum-musique concrete finale (“The Epic Journey To The Garage Door”) and an overly lengthy track - “Beating The Bounds” - that was better left in the vault, as it unfortunately diminishes the record’s otherwise higher mark of at least two points. If you cut off that piece from your listening session, this is a good work for its genre. (Phonospheric)

CELER – Pockets Of Wheat

The newest Celer album at the moment in which I’m writing is yet another example of how a multitude of instruments and field recordings (plus the voice of the late Danielle Baquet-Long) can become, through opportune processing, a mental balm where no one of these sources is discernible. Will Long is releasing records at a rate that, were we not sure of their quality, would be alarming. But documenting his and Dani’s activity is a mission that cannot be left unaccomplished, and we’re ever happy to listen and get mesmerized, because this is the best static ambience that you might find today: simply conceived, extremely linear in its unfolding, penetrating the inside defences without the need of imposing anything. Hazily luminescent resonances destined to be absorbed just before going to sleep at the end of the umpteenth day full of considerations about the worthlessness of many of our daily gestures, neuroses and human meetings. Pockets Of Wheat is a specimen of true therapeutic radiance, always welcome when the seriousness of the people who created it is a fundamental element. (Soundscaping)

OIER I.A. - Dedalu

Thirty minutes of complex stillness. A contradiction? Maybe, but this is exactly what happens in Dedalu, originally a net release on Larraskito and now available on a humble CDR. This music wouldn’t be out of place on a label like Antifrost, as it made me think of Ilios, AS11 - you get the point, the Greek danger zone of hypnotic electronic/processed sounds, frequently with an acutely gritty edge. Yet Oier Iruretagoiena - aka Oier I.A. - is obviously a Basque. Unrecognizable sources, and that’s a fact. Increasing tension despite the scarce movement, frequencies that don’t look so menacing at first, but do sting: at the end of the disc - and the volume isn’t even that high - my ears are behaving halfway through ring and gurgle, as if they were filled by an invisible liquid. Quite often the sonic mass elicits aural hallucinations, according to which I heard organ chords and voices in the acute register. Never believe your dishonest brain when electroacoustic stupor is involved. This man knows what he’s doing, I can feel it. A candidate for infinite repeat: a single concept throughout, applied with intelligent inflexibility. No holiday-card echoes from remote lands, no extensive reverbs, no bullshit as Phill Niblock would have it. Grab a copy of this one and get lost in a mental maze. (Self Released)

JOÃO LUCAS – Abstract Mechanics

Fascinating semi-solid conceptions for piano, accordion and electronics (Lucas) and a delightfully evocative cello (Miguel Mira). The soundtrack to Era Uma Coisa Mesmo Muito Abstracta - a choreography by Andresa Soares - Abstract Mechanics is a work of uncomplicated digestibility despite the involvedness of some of its parts. An unambiguously poetic music, either used to highlight a (probably very intriguing) series of dance figures or enjoyed as a musical piece per se. Lucas and Mira explore the instrumental registers with a combination of obsession and scientific curiosity, alternating passages bordering on the romantic side of things (never deprived of surprising factors) with moments of apparent scarcity of rationality permeated by a larger use of improvisation and discordance. But they always manage to fall straight on their feet as one realizes that the tumbles were just picturesque tricks, the couple remaining entirely aware of where the music is going. A passionate yet at the same time light hearted performance, emanating scents of transcendence but also revealing a painstaking care for the sonic details. The fact that this writer has not been able, in about six listens, to compare the material to anything else in recent memory should tell a lot. Perhaps those who recall Joachim Kühn’s playing on Carolyn Carlson’s Dark will find something here that might gratify their taste. Just a faraway association, though. (Creative Sources)