Tagged: composed

Integer Studies

We first noted Thea Farhadian with her excellent record Red Blue, where she pitted her violin against the guitar of Dean Santomeri. I enjoyed the melodic and narrative elements of that user-friendly album. Tectonic Shifts (CREATIVE SOURCES RECORDINGS CS 365 CD) is quite a different barrel of herring. It’s all solo, performed by Farhadian with her violin and Max/MSP software in a method which is described under the general term of “interactive electronics”. It’s very far from being melodic, and isn’t much of a story-telling album either. Rather, her concerns this time are “jagged rhythms and microtonal landscapes”, and what emerges are short bursts of music and sound, two or three minutes in length, brief but nonetheless teeming with events and changes, and they have no recognisable tonal centre or pitch to help orient the listener. They are almost wholly abstract shards of brittle, processed sounds, that feel like they’ve been broken off the edge of a sub-atomic particle. And with titles like ‘Light Edge’, ‘Particle Party’, ‘Quantum Shift’ and ‘Integer Study’, we sometimes feel like we’re perusing the chapter headings to a scientific monograph rather than enjoying an album of free improvised music.

All of the above may sound off-putting, but Tectonic Shifts is thrilling. It scores on several points. First the innovative qualities of its soundworld, because I’ve rarely heard such a strange series of emanations derived from the violin; it’s a spine-tingling meld of the human and the machine. There’s a recognisably organic flavour lurking somewhere in these extremely alien tones. Secondly, the amount of detail which she packs in per square inch deserves note; she must be a quicksilver performer, making musical decisions at the speed of light. This means she can say more in two minutes than some Canadian electro-acoustic composers manage in a double-CD set. Concise statements are set forth. Thirdly, I’d like to say something about her actual performances in these unique blends of improvised and composed music; but it’s hard right now to identify precisely what I like. It may be her unusual dynamics, producing intervals in unexpected places, and odd silences where you expect that more should be said. If you can listen your way past the odd surface textures, eventually you’ll get to this core of meaning that is evidently unique to Thea Farhadian’s mind, and it starts to take shape as a musical language. Very good. From 15th December 2016.

Big Sky

Very strong set of musique concrète compositions from Michel Redolfi on the album Desert Tracks (SUB ROSA SR418); the Belgian label Sub Rosa have taken it on themselves to reissue this album which first appeared on CD in 1988, as the first half of a set that also included Pacific Tubular Waves. Redolfi is associated with the Marseille wing of the French school, and was co-founder of the Group de Musique Experimentale de Marseille since 1968; he also served as director of the Centre International De Recherche Musicale (CIRM) in Switzerland. Although he’s collaborated with Ferrari, Parmegiani and Henry, he’s also not averse to working in America, and in fact lived there for nearly a decade, forming alliances with American composers and working in Californian University music centres. It was in the Californian deserts in 1987 that he captured the basic sounds that have gone to make up Desert Tracks.

While we’re more than familiar with field recording types and phonographers who settle for capturing rather uninteresting aural snapshots of the landscapes they visit, Michel Redolfi was aiming high right from the start. He used digital recorders (one of the first ones ever manufactured), binaural mics, and mics poised on stands, in pursuit of a “3D depth of field” and “divine silences”. He speaks of “hypothetical poly-sensorial desert tones”, clearly enthused by something more profound than a mere sense of atmosphere, and responded eagerly to what he regards as the high drama of these desert environments. To capture these impressions on tape was enough of a challenge; then came the editing and processing stages, back in the studios of Cal Arts and CIRM, where he added synthetic drones and electronic music. But this addition was done with tremendous care and sensitivity; he wanted to keep the electronic elements “sparse and bright, to express the crude light”. I like that reference to the sunlight; old Sol must have presented an unforgettable presence in that airless Californian desert hell. Clearly, Redolfi had more than his retinas burned by that fiery orb, and was intent on creating an authentic landscape painting in sound, building on his documentary recordings and displaying a deep awareness of the environment, the weather, the light – to arrive at his own series of profound and imaginative meditations on the subject of the desert.

Desert Tracks follows a kind of trajectory, where there’s something approaching a musical theme at the start – the rather ominous ‘Opening’ – followed by the sparse grimness of ‘Mojave Desert’ and the near-insufferable surface of ‘Death Valley’, which contains some pretty harsh textures of broken noise. This particular segment may owe something to “the impeccable strip of asphalt” that you can walk down to cross the valley. So far the desert is emerging as a hostile, uncaring zone of bleakness and pain. After this we enter the relative calm of ‘Palm Canyon’, which was purposely composed to evoke an oasis and the wildlife (wasps and birds) that inhabit that area near the Mexican border. U2 fans would probably know it from the cover to the best-selling 1987 album. The album ends with ‘Too Much Sky’, 10 minutes of beautifully serene sound that rewards the patient traveller who has made it across this wilderness in one piece, and again indicates Redolfi’s perceptive take on the landscape, the quality of light that must seem overwhelming to Europeans. By this point even the listener is in need of a pair of good sunglasses. Incidentally ‘Too Much Sky’ predates the main suite by three years, and is only available on the CD version of this release, thus making a nonsense of my “trajectory” theory.

Redolfi’s no stranger to elemental subjects like this; his first published works for INA GRM Immersion / Pacific Tubular Waves have a “watery” theme, which recurs with Sonic Waters (1984), Crysallis, the underwater opera (1992), and his many Underwater Music releases. This aquatic jag has been obsessing him since 1977, so this shift to giving the desert sands their due clearly marks another chapter in his thematic pursuits. From 12th December 2016.

Events Turned

Further evidence of the fecund Vancouver music scene to be heard on the album Tell Tale (DRIP AUDIO DA01207) by the Film In Music ensemble, an eight-piece of crack musicians led by the cellist and composer Peggy Lee. Composed meets improvised, jazz meets easy-listening and film scores, acoustic meets electric, and there’s a healthy open-minded eclecticism at work. Strings, trumpet, pianos, guitars and drums blend together in pleasing ways, and the presence of two bass players (acoustic and electric) is the kind of touch the should please fans of Brian Wilson (he booked two such bassists for the Pet Sounds sessions).

Tell Tale is a concept record of sorts, themed around the TV series Deadwood, which is one of those protracted HBO series that demands a long attention span from its viewers, and whose themes may be read as a veiled metaphor for late capitalism (not my original idea; I think I saw this in Sight & Sound magazine). Peggy Lee used this TV series as a starting point to build a compositional structure that would allow all the musicians to play characters, and tell stories; one outcome of this strategy is that the album is nicely balanced between ensemble work, and solo spots where each musician gets a turn to shine. They’re all improvisers, by the way. I seem to recall this “story-telling” device has been used by other improvisers to get results in a group situation, or possibly to break down barriers between musicians who don’t know each other too well; didn’t Chris Cutler do it in some capacity?

It works well on this occasion in terms of delivering a varied album, although overall I found Film In Music’s musical approach to be rather pedestrian, despite their evident skills, musical chops, and rapport with each other. There’s something too facile about the playing, and the sound is too smooth for my liking, as though every player fears to get too abrasive or loud, and the atmosphere of mutual respect in the group becomes stultifying. Even when they attempt to get noisy or abstract, it feels like something done to create predictable surface effects, and I’m just not feeling the bold exploratory passion for experimentation or risk-taking. The upbeat tunes are fun, but they also come close to turning into cocktail lounge modern jazz for people who don’t really like jazz; the arty tracks, with their sad drones and listless meandering, just project a feeling of melancholy weariness. From 12th December 2016.

Towards Enlightenment

Herewith three cassettes from Eric Kinny’s label Santé Loisirs in Belgium, all boasting the attractive woodblock printing covers which Eric makes himself. We last noted the label in January. Package arrived 7th December 2016.

Pont à Mousson sings 13 wistful songs of love, loss and self-doubt on Rock With Pont à Mousson (SL07). His forte is introverted, self-regarding songs, tinged with longing and regret; when he attempts more upbeat rock or pop songs, the results are rather weedy. There’s a certain charm in his relaxed, conversational style of singing which does connect with the listener, but he’s not a particularly strong vocalist. I like the brevity of the songs though, and the spare arrangements – guitar, piano, drum machine – do smack of honesty and economy. The cover art is drawn by Nicolas Guine, showing Pont à Mousson surrounded by flying devils who are not especially threatening.

Hablemos del Alma has just four songs on his self-titled cassette (SL06). This is the solo turn of Angelo Santa Cruz from Chile, and it’s performed with synths, twangy guitars, drum machines, and low-key vocals, adding up to a personal take on the synth-pop genre (though not quite unsettling enough to be labelled Cold-Wave or Dark-Wave or whatever the term is). Weirdly, he describes his creations as “New Age” music, a connection which I don’t get at all. At least there’s a smidgen more tension in his songs than the wispy Pont à Mousson, and there’s a certain opacity about his motives I like. Only once or twice does he lapse into rather tasteful chords that transform him into a DIY cabaret singer. He does it with old-school synths, ARPs, organs, and Diana Menino, Micaela Skoknic and Manu Guevara assisted with the vocals.

Final item is a real oddity by McCloud Zicmuse, a vagabond musician who we encountered a couple years ago with his Version D’un Ouvrage Traduit album on a record credited to Le Ton Mite. Today’s cassette, Het Slechtgetemperde Klavier en Zwakke Blokfluiten (SL08), is performed using harpsichords, flutes and recorders, striving hard to project a medieval, renaissance or Baroque period feel. In the end it delivers the sensations of a lost European movie soundtrack, with its very short cues (most of the tracks are under a minute in length) and vaguely “historical” atmosphere; you can practically see the wenches, knights and jesters cavorting in front of an old castle photographed in Eastmancolour. This might not quite be the whimsical pastiche I’m making it out to be, and there’s a certain strange mystique lurking behind these elliptical, half-finished musical statements; and Zicmuse performs everything with strength and conviction. At 23 tracks it may seem to be stretching a single idea a little too far, but the album is brief overall. Recorded in London and Belgium.

Mr. O’Gonagan does the Nonagon

The Keith Tippett Group
The Nine Dances of Patrick O’Gonagan
UK DISCUS 56 CD (2016)

Although British pianist/composer Keith Tippett is one of the most highly regarded figures in U.K./eurojazz circles, Nine Dances finds him in the role of a debutante within the formidable catalogue of all things Discus. Equally at ease with crowd control procedures, employed with the fifty-man “Septober Energy” project as well as more scaled-down concerns such as Ovary Lodge, this release, after public viewings at the Café Oto in 2014 and the Berlin JazzFest two years later, plays the middleman option with an eight-piece combo (plus a very special guest).

This line-up takes in the more established names of Fulvio Sigurta on trumpet and drummer/percussionist Peter Fairclough, who, along with a goodly number of players from the Royal Academy of Music’s ‘Jazz Programme’ are equally at home with multi-directional blurt and chaotic big-city improv as they are with horn arrangements bathed in poignant blue tonalities. “The Dance of the Return of the Swallows” comes frantically scrawled in chalk ciphers seemingly hatched by a shock-haired professor of music-mathematics. Its dizzying score almost encroaching on the discordant at times. The incorporation of folk themes is a nice touch; “The Dance of the Sheer Joy of it all” references a broad brush-stroked, Irish jig pattern and recalls the same kind of experiments that Scottish traditional musics were subject to under the auspices of Talisker during their “Dreaming of Glenisla” phase.

And as for that extra special guest spot, “The Dance of her Returning” sees Julie Tippetts (Keith’s missus and the former Ms. Driscoll) vocalising in true heart-melting mode. Ever since I spied this purveyor of otherworldly chic on a ’68 T.O.T.P, I’ve been a fan of ‘that voice’ and it’s one that has undoubtedly improved with maturity, tonally and emotionally. Seems to me one doesn’t need to keep looking over the duck pond for cutting edge jazz laced with integrity, sparkle, fire and whathaveyou. This veritable beacon in the dark suggests it’s already here. Essential.

Sacred Geometry

Pauline Oliveros + Musiques Nouvelles
Four Meditations / Sound Geometries
BELGIUM SUB ROSA SR422 CD (2016)

Pauline Oliveros, everyone’s favourite exponent of Deep Listening, sadly passed this year. As well as a respectable complement of original compositions, she also indulged in collaborations with diverse artists including John Tilbury, Nels Cline, Zeena Parkins, Francisco López, Eleh and Reynols. This recording was made in 2003 at Studio Dada, utilising the Oliveros-designed Expanded Instrument System (EIS) whereby Oliveros was surrounded by the Belgian orchestra Musiques Nouvelles. conducted by Jean-Paul Dessy, a Belgian composer and cellist. Previous releases have featured music composed by Philip Glass, Luciano Berio, Arnold Schoenberg, among others, plus a couple of collaborations with DJ Olive.

The first of the two pieces, “Four Meditations”, features the verbal contribution of an artist by the name of Ione. The terms vocalisation or sound-making or glossolalia might give you a more accurate picture of what she does. Although just as I wrote that during my first listen she suddenly came out with “Scorpions in your pockets, sand at your feet, sun on your neck, listen….oooh, lemonade…” which is unexpected if you take into account what the sub rosa press release maintains: “Meditation asks the performers to listen then sound. Listen means to include all that is sounding and to find a space for each sound that is made.” Given that this direction is intended to produce a completely different result every time “Four Meditations” is performed – with further unpredictability based on who performs it – Musique Nouvelles make a strident, scattergun attempt on this recording which makes me intrigued how they might perform it on a different occasion.

Their rendering of “Sound Geometries”, or to give it its full title, “Sound Geometries For Chamber Orchestra, Expanded Instrument System and 5.1 Surround Sound”, by contrast, is suspenseful; full of anxiety with every detail rich and exciting. At 6:30 I mistake Jean-Michel Charlier’s clarinet for a malfunctioning smoke alarm (in the nicest possible way). A selection of microphones record the players, “…processed in one of ten geometrical patterns by the …EIS…to transform and move the players’ sounds in space in the 5.1 surround system.” Regrettably, as is the case with all attempts at multi-channel composition, this being a stereo cd the full effect is somewhat lost. This in no way affects my enjoyment of the piece, however. No reference is made to Oliveros’ actual score for this piece; whether it is made up of specifics or indications, encouragements. But at its core is a sense of freedom: these players may or may not be natural improvisers but their interactions here are among the strongest I’ve heard lately. And a great manic ending. Just my cup of tea.

Simulacra of Songs

Highly unusual release is Spam Me (CUCHABATA RECORDS CUCH-095), sent to us by the Quebec composer CE François Couture, and first spin reveals a dazzling, dense and engaging array of lyrics, sounds, complex arrangements, weird noises, and hyper-intelligent art rock settings. He’s doing all this in the service of the concept, which is to call attention to the “spam” problem – those irritating emails we all get, and in some cases (mine at any rate) coded messages invading our very websites, through exploiting weaknesses in WordPress and other blogging platforms. One of these is the common CSS hack, which finds a way to use the cascading stylesheet as a mule to smuggle in its verbal contraband. Couture is clearly exasperated by this modern phenomenon, calling the spam messages “pests” and “flagrant failures at communicating”, but also observing that spam is so commonplace it has become almost invisible to us now. His plan is to set the spam texts to music on this album, almost in spite of his own frustration, or perhaps to exorcise himself of certain demons…he admits the texts, which are often scrambled and meaningless and badly written, “hold a poetic charge” for him. All of this feeds into what he calls “Simulacra of Songs”, the sub-title for Spam Me.

Apparently this is Couture’s 1 first solo record as a composer, a fact which I mention because it’s such an impressive and convincing set of songs, but he’s been active in music since 2010 working in free improvisation, and performing with groups La Forêt Rouge and RBC. There’s no musical style he won’t parody or plunder for this Spam Me project, a strategy which feels somewhat in keeping with the subject matter (getting revenge by poking fun at your enemy), and you can hear him try out everything from hip-hop (‘Magie Rouge’) to art-prog (the title track); some of his post-modern ballads, with their imaginative intervals and dissonances, reminded me of Slapp Happy and Peter Blegvad, with all the awkwardness and mannered style that implies. He’s also prone to high drama, such as on ‘Parajumper Kodiak’, where he delivers the nonsensical spam text in an actorly, declamatory style over a klunky musical backdrop worthy of Magazine or A Sudden Sway. What I appreciate about the vocal delivery is there’s nothing tongue-in-cheek, no matter how ludicrous and absurd the text may be (and they get pretty cracked, lemme tell ya); he takes it all seriously, and lets the spam subvert itself.

An enclosed leaflet tells us a little more about the process of creation and composition – all the spam texts were left on his own music blog – and reproduces the texts in full, so you can double your twisted pleasure by reading as you listen. Just watch your face in a mirror as you do so…your eyebrows will soon reach the top of your head. Parts of this record reminded me of recent work by Alessandro Bosetti, particularly the Stille Post record set; but where Bosetti has some residual faith in our ability to communicate effectively using technology, CE François Couture evidently thinks the human race has completely lost the plot, and all we can do is propagate incoherent gibberish on a global scale. Hard to argue with that…one of the more unusual items we have received lately, and a real winner. From 1st December 2016.

  1. His name is spelled this way to denote THIS François Couture, which would be the French translation of CE. This is because the name is apparently quite common in Quebec.

Le Temple Du Rock

Very impressed with Ein Geisteskranker Als Künstler 1 (RONDA rnd11), an old 2009 release from Sébastien Borgo, performing solo under his Ogrob guise. Here are 14 experiments made using guitars, electronics, motors, loops and radio waves, covering a wide range of approaches to sound manipulation – some harsh noise, some murmuring drones, some vague and abstract. It’s a compilation as such, bringing together short works made in 1994 onwards, up to 2006. What typifies all the music is an angry, slow-burning, brooding contempt, which seeps out of every passing moment and spreads across the imaginary listening space like a poisonous plague. Ogrob uses his own deconstructed, hands-on approach to electro-acoustic music, more informed by the “industrial” school than the traditional musique concrète academics, and raises himself just one notch or two above the electrified junkyard. But the music is also evidently serious in intent, and deserves to be heard with a serious pair of ears. A lot of Ogrob projects, particularly micro_penis, seem to me to have a rather satirical intent behind them, as though the musician wanted to parody the pomposity of “proper” composition. On the other hand, when I put a question like this to him in my recent interview, he purported not to understand what I was talking about. The cover art to this macabre and dark release is a photo called Destroy Noise Jetset by Ogrob, depicting a shipwrecked vessel in some vague body of grey water near a rocky landscape. For some reason, I can’t help reading it as the document of a crashed flying saucer. Either way it sends out just the right visual messages of defeat and failure. Superb hour of grimness..from 14 November 2016.

  1. The title is something to do with Adolf Wölfli, the Swiss Outsider artist.

Strange Delights

Haxel Garbini
Uri
ITALY SNOWDONIA SW0077 LP (2015)

Massaging brains with his short ideas repeated is Italy’s Haxel Garbini, a new name to me, somewhat shadowy in both profile and in sound. The twelve process-based (de)constructions that make up URI find Garbini operating within a quasi-Minimalist frame: clipped phrases fed through effect-pedals ad infinitum. A faint whiff of cod-orientalism. Slender arrangements for distortion-driven dirge and highly nuanced composition both, with an enduring indifference to the possibility of reconciling such uncomplimentary approaches.

Typical of this pathology, ‘Estate 1984’ and its subsequent ‘Reprise’ have far less in common than good old chalk n’cheese: the former a swift, swampy elegy to forgotten toys, and its counterpart, a hypnotising harmony of reverberant organ tones that harken us towards a trance state. Neither blood relations, nor cosy bedfellows, such bi-polar antics are made acceptable only by the omnipresence of this unlikely pairing strategy: ‘Emergere/Fluttuare’ (to give another example) sees the sludgy, seabed stirring of a disgruntled cello beneath 100 atmospheres of pressure swiftly supplanted by the carefree play of pastoral folk guitar for a twittering avian audience. And so on.

While an escape route of sorts can be found in ‘Dobbiamo Scappare’, where Bruce Haack-like vocoder exhortations drift disembodied around a rudimentary bass pulse, for the most part listening to URI is rather like comparing photographs to their negatives. Garbini’s mixed bag of unresolved melodies, fidelities and koan, whose ongoing incompletion implies a contradictory appetite for new scenery and a cocoon-like resistance to new influences, provides many Gordian Knots for more literal-minded listeners to scratch heads over.

Komitas Vardapet
Six Dances
NETHERLANDS MAKKUM RECORDS MR17 / DE PLATENBAKKERIJ PB 006 CD (2016)

Pendulating between flights of filigree and fleeting respite are the fine-tuned fingers of pianist Keiko Shichijo, whose infatuation with the work of sacerdotal Armenian composer Komitas Vardapet recently saw her hidden talents scooped up by Amsterdam’s Makkum label. The clincher: a recital at the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, provides the contents of this EP, while the pieces were written during Vardapet’s spell in Paris in 1906, and played on a Steinway just 2.5 decades older. ‘Situation-struck’ Arnold De Boer of the Makkum label was straight away sold, and set about documenting the momentous occasion on 10” and CD formats.

Of Shichijo herself, little is noted, so she shares the obscurity of the object of her devotion, along with an enduring fascination with the music of times and places long gone. Ordained as a priest in his youth, Vardapet composed his early work in late 18th Century Armenia and later, with sponsorship, in Berlin, where he introduced Europeans to folk musics Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish, becoming in time an avowed ethnomusicologist. Though he composed this six-stage cycle for piano, it is informed by his musicological research, drawing themes from folk dances and sounds from instruments such as the dap, shvi, dhol and tar – local variations on instruments such as tambourine, reed pipe and hand drum.

Shichijo (re)animates this mythology with detail and finesse: in ‘Yerangi’ florid arabesques fade to absent-minded lapses that hold a light to the piano’s inner chambers. To her credit, she doesn’t over-egg her reading of instructions such as ‘delicately and majestically’, which Vardapet liberally applied to dances for men and women: the held notes of ‘Unabi’ are brushed lightly by brisk ornamentation; an ambivalent joyousness fueled by the player’s absorption into historical reverie. ‘Shoror’ – the swaying dance for ‘heroic men’ – maintains the majesty, but hangs a question mark on every sustained end-note.

Given the attention to detail, the brevity remains a mystery. ‘Shoror’ towers over at 6:34: enough time to house three other pieces, but probably not enough for a dance to get going. It’s more likely that the cycle was composed as a museum piece, patiently inlaid with the stories and sensibilities of its fading origins, but sufficiently adulterated for the curious listeners who might have been alienated by a direct encounter. Indeed, the days were numbered: Vardapet was arrested on the first day of the Armenian massacre in 1915, and though released with the help of the American ambassador, remained traumatised for the twenty years till his death in 1935. Gone, but thanks to Keiko Shichijo, not forgotten.

Checkmated

Don’t seem to have heard a record from Berlin tuba player Robin Hayward since 2010’s States Of Rushing on Choose Records, an LP whose memorable cover image spoke volumes about the steely precision of this ultra-minimal player who has done so much to chill the bones and cool the jets of many young hot-heads who cluster like flies around the Exploratorium. Hayward’s with us today credited with playing the “microtonal tuba” and joined by Christopher Williams, another Berlin player who carries the contrabass and once made a record with Derek Bailey in 2004. Together, the duo call themselves Reidemeister Move, and on Plays Borromean Rings (CORVO RECORDS core 010) they perform one of Hayward’s compositions. It can’t have escaped your notice that the score – a graphic score, at that – for the piece is printed directly on the record as a picture disk, thus forming a neat packaging of ideas and sound into a single cohesive unit. This sort of imaginative approach is one of the hallmarks of Corvo Records, I think, each release in their small but select catalogue exhibiting a successful marriage of visuals, sound, and packaging.

The graphic score for Borromean Rings is a very precisely-rendered string of information, as severe as computer code, and its sequence or logic is not plain to the untrained eye. Yet the intention behind Borromean Rings is not to create a ring-fenced barrier of inescapable rules, rather to free up the players in some way…the concise text printed within likens the composition to a game for two players, whose rules are intended to help each player “explore continually fresh avenues within the harmonic framework”. In trying to explain this kind of thing to myself, I usually reach for the metaphor of a map, one that’s intended to help the walker find their way around a strange clump of terrain. As for rules-yet-no-rules, I always understood (perhaps wrongly) that this was the essence of Cecil Taylor’s method, when directing his typically epic collaborative works of energy jazz.

Full marks for the concept and the method, then. But Reidemeister Move Plays Borromean Rings isn’t a very exciting listen. The lower-register drones are played with care and precision, but with zero passion; the even-ness of the work starts to grind down the listener in short order, much like a house painter who is skilled at applying a perfectly smooth layer of white paint throughout the house, slowly working in his methodical way. It’s not clear to me how the players are manoeuvring for position, if that’s what the game of Borromean Rings entails; I’m unable to perceive the intended avenues of exploration in what seems to me more like a series of slowly-executed turns on the exact same spot, like two animals circling in a maze. Much as I like the picture disc format, the music suffers from being pressed in vinyl this way, and the surface noise on my copy marred my appreciation of what I suppose is meant to be pristine, blemish-free minimalism.

On the positive side, the sound of these particular instruments is something I can enjoy for long stretches, and there is an unhurried pace to the playing that is evidence of the discipline and skill of both players, able to sustain long tones and extraordinarily precise fingering for long periods of time without once disturbing the chilled atmosphere. Werner Dafeldecker, of Polwechsel fame, did the recording in a church in Brandenburg. The label owner Wendelin Bücher designed the package, and even came up with a logo design for Reidemeister Move; it’s printed quite small, and it’s not quite in the same league as a Black Metal emblem, but it’s a nice touch. Numbered and limited to 300 copies; arrived 26th April 2016.