Pneumatronics

airbuttons

Richard Sanderson
Air Buttons
UK LINEAR OBESSESIONAL RECORDINGS LOR046 CDR (2013)

South of the river experimentalist/home recordist Richard Sanderson’s Air Buttons c.d.r. refers to a very reductive description of the melodeon (or button accordion). But its title is but a slice of red herring, as this humble instrument; really more at home in trad folk circles and as a potential auction item in BBC T.V.’s ‘Flog It’, has, in Richard’s hands received a huge steroided boost in its sound capabilities. These eleven improvised works have now adopted various disguises; latex prosthetics and exotic false moustaches that only numerous foot pedals and laptop processing can achieve. And because of this… the familiar, natural voice of the melodeon appears to have become a rather infrequent visitor to these proceedings, but its reassuringly tuneful exhalations can be located on “Downhill Bicycle Race” which is a charming yet bizarre coupling where Ivor Cutler-infused playfulness eventually becomes gridlocked by a Terry Riley-informed repetitive patterning. Others like “Separating Circle” march purposefully towards abrasive sonic art; its batsqueak and masticating jaw noise combination showing a particularly extreme profile, while in stark contrast, the poignant “Vedux Doppler” captures the peal of bells from Beckenham Parish Church; muted and muffled by what seems to be an approaching monsoon. Very evocative stuff!

Air Buttons comes as a quintessentially English example of pneumatronics (?), which can now be thought of as a viable equivalent to Pauline Oliveros/Chris Brown’s Music in the Air release. This has now sold out at source (only a 50 ltd. ed!) but is available as a download thingie from the label’s Bandcamp page.

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