Best Music Cake

Very good neo-classical music from Ingar Zach, the percussionist and composer who runs Sofa in Norway. Here on Floating Layer Cake (SOFA MUSIC SOFA571) are two substantial suites of fascinating instrumental work. On ‘The Lost Ones’, he enlists the help of Quatuor Bozzini, that Canadian string quartet who have no fear of austere modernism, to accompany his percussion set-up which happens to include a snaredrum hooked up to a vibrating speaker for extra whompage. Joining this cholocatey mix o’goodness is Kim Myhr with his 12-string guitar and zither, strumming up a storm of sustained delicate noise with his steel strings, and Caroline Bergvall who solemnly recites a poem.

I prize this piece for its sustained tension, creating and managing a fraught atmosphere and charged mood with a minimal of means, and the way it gradually builds to a semi-chaotic ending that doesn’t really resolve anything, and if anything leaves you plagued by further doubts. Some gorgeous minimal melodies along the way too, in case you were worried it was all gaseous abstract drone; a strong marshalling of forces indeed, every instrument judiciously placed. The second piece ‘Let The Snare Speak’ is a solo bashathon by Zach, where he’s got three of them snares with the vibrating speakers plus some live electronics, buzzing away in a long-form slowly-unfolding tablecloth of delights. Like walking into a room with a million rotating fans on a hot day, except that it’s composed and managed.

He originally wrote this for Speak Percussion (the Australian drumming ones) but this rendition is his solo version. It’s basically about letting sine tones create vibrations on the snare drum skins and letting nature take its course. Like ‘The Lost Ones’, this is surprisingly powerful and delicate at the same time. Recommended. (26/02/2019)

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