Got a couple of new records from Tim Olive, the Canadian improviser who continues to find interesting collaborators in Japan and the East with whom he can rub the snout and ruffle the feathers. Cal Lyall is I believe the guitarist and keyboard player from Tetragrammaton, whose semi-psychedelic sprawls in cosmic free improv have been heard around here occasionally courtesy of Utech Records. On Lowering (845 AUDIO 845-9), Cal Lyall plays hydrophones and electronics while Olive is playing magnetic pickups and electronics, and together they create a right royal rumpus of formless, obsessive noise, rumbling and grinding in a deliciously raw manner. This stuff has the groany elemental quality that Olive seems to be excelling at lately, as though he’s found a rich seam of iron ore in the ground and is patiently labouring to extract it with pickaxes and shovels, with help of fellow musician. We’re a long way now from the gaseous vapourings of Tetragrammaton, discursive long-form music which on a good day might have been filed alongside Acid Mothers Temple or even Taj Mahal Travelers. Lowering is good nasty spike and metal blatchery gorged from the intestinal realms…frog-based spelunking for lunar miners and other underground pinch-hitters.
On Brother Of Divinity (845 AUDIO 845-10), Tim Olive is doing it with Yan Jun, the Beijing artist whom we last heard on Swimming Salt, his 2017 record with Ben Owen. This is quite a different basket of crabs to the above, featuring quite a large dollop of feedback and radio waves (I think), characterised by tiny explosions of static and interrupted, cut-off tones delivered in the manner of a torturer. No clue is given as to how Olive and Jun generated these emanations of rather grotesque ugly clay, but they are hugely enjoyable. While Lowering seems to be mostly about a slow race to the centre of the earth using primitive tools, Brother Of Divinity is all about subtle contrasts and clashes, pitching high tones with grumbly low tones, and allowing tiny portions of musical notes to leak into the atmosphere as needed. Even so, it has the same driven qualities as the one above, suggesting to me that Olive is quite a harsh taskmaster, a Simon Legree of improvised noise who pushes his team to the very limits of endurance, using whatever implements are at hand (the whip, the scourge, the electrified baton) to get best results. It may hurt at first, but no pain no gain…like the above this not-overlong CD offers less than 30 mins of abstract noise enjoyment, which is a good digestible lump of plutonium to insert in your gullet. From 5th February 2019.