Tagged: stringed instruments

The Black Mural

Umbrae (BÔŁT RECORDS 1037 / DUX 1371) is a collection of four modern pieces composed by Andrzej Kwieciński, and played by Royal String Quartet. It’s a pretty intense set, with plenty of dissonant tones and anguished emotions on display, but still achieving a species of doomed beauty, and all composed and performed with a certain steely authority and gravitas. Kwieciński’s quite a young fellow, and happens to have been born just at the tail end of Poland’s early 1980s crisis, when trade union leader Lech Wałęsa went up against the communist authorities, who put the country under martial rule in 1981. However, Kwieciński is one of a number of Polish composers from this period who have remained “untrammelled by the Polish past”, and presumably welcomes the general shift from communism to capitalism that has been underway in Poland ever since.

Despite any attempts to forget Poland’s grim history, Kwieciński’s music on Umbrae is sombre and grim in its overall caste. The title track sets out the composer’s stall in no uncertain terms – a parcel of dissonant chords which express an unfailing mood of bitterness. Get used to those jarring arrays of ill-fitting notes; there’s plenty more on the album to come. The mid section of ‘Umbrae’ is especially alarming and agitated, and already I wonder if I’ll come out alive. ‘Contregambiles’ is even more unsettling, and feels very 20th-century in its use of random-seeming swipes of the strings to produce hideous chords, as if composed by “aleatory” methods. A man can’t get a foothold on the shifting sands here, and there’s no tonal centre to call a home.

At least on ‘Mural’ Kwieciński deigns to use some repetition – at any rate I think I can make out a repeated phrase and variations on it, which restores some small sense of comfort to an alienated listener. The overall mood is still gloomy as heck, and if I was beholding a mural on a wall of a Polish civic building, chances are that it would mostly be painted in shades of black and grey, and depict scenes of oppression and misery using many oblique symbols to allude to a long history of human pain.

My favourite piece here is ‘Luci Nella Notte V’. It’s far calmer than the rest of the set and provides a balm to all the agitation and unrest that sits either side. He’s manage to wrest a fascinating sound from the string players – astringent despairing tones, strings that cut and burn with their dolour. At some point here I was reminded of the works of Purcell, which might not be an inept comparison; Kwieciński studied Baroque singing (he is in fact a countertenor vocalist, like Alfred Deller), and the sleeve notes allude to another Baroque influenced orchestral project of his called Canzon de’baci, based on a 16th century poem by Guarini. Any fellow who digs the Baroque classics can’t be all bad, even if he does emphasise the pain and heartache within Purcell’s music. Packaged in a six-panel digipak (for no good reason, apart from allowing some typographical indulgences) with a booklet insert, notes in Polish and English, and a photo of Royal String Quartet dressed in black and ready for action. They look like a team of paid assassins from a Jason Statham movie. From 21st December 2016.

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.

Now I Am Beyond Belief

You may recall us raving about this Hen Ogledd LP in 2016, a great LP resulting from the team-up of avant-harpist Rhodri Davies and Richard Dawson, the English folk singer and scholar who created the remarkable record The Glass Trunk in 2013 (on which Rhodri played, come to think of it). Well, these two have now turned Hen Ogledd into a band or project of some sort, and here’s their LP Bronze (ALT-VINYL AV069), an astonishing six tracks of musical noise realised with the help of Dawn Bothwell, plus guest players Laura Cannell and Jeff Henderson.

That’s Richard’s artwork on the front cover, a collage called ‘Golden Person’, and with its near-anonymous implacable stare and inscrutable alien visage, this face immediately clues you in that you’re about to spin a very special record. From the opening track I thought we might be embarking on some pagan-mystery theme, rich in dark magick and old straight tracks and stone monuments…it’s called ‘Ancient Data’, an evocative title if ever there was…and on one level may summon up visions of early astronaut visitors and dreams inspired by Erich Von Daniken, or more simply may be a fancy way of referring to archaeology. However, musically it’s an uncategorisable sound, and only the voice work of Dawn Bothwell and the haunting recorders of Cannell might substantiate my theory, adding a mystical folk-flavour to the strange electronic and plucked jumble of inventiveness.

As to that, I suppose a cursory read of the credit notes may give some small indication of what Davies and Dawson were doing at Blank Studios under the watchful ear of Sam Grant (who recorded it), and once again Rhodri is amplifying and electrifying his harps to produce intense, astringent noise and bone-shattering drones, even surpassing his incredible work on Wound Response (amplification and distortion used for devastating results). But he also plays the loudhailer, nails, and marble. Richard Dawson’s credit list is even more arcane, including a number of things which might seem more at home inside a witch’s cupboard than in a recording studio; I could read these two lines of text over and over, until they resemble a form of poetry.

I say this in some attempt to account for the uncanny force and deliberation behind these eerie sounds, at times crude and brutal as the best post-punk band that ever existed, at times ringing together with a spiritual harmony and peacefulness that puts the listener at one with the universe, such as on ‘Beyond Belief’, a superb English update on the music of Popl Vuh. Perhaps Dawn Bothwell, with her synths, effects, and mostly her singing voice, is doing something to temper the alien-inspired antics of the two male players, and her sweetening influence is most evident on the short but gorgeous ‘Gwawr in Reverse’. But she also ends the album with her spunky lyrics to ‘Get My Name Right Or Get Out!’, a title which needs no explanation, and a song which comes over as feisty as a combination of Poly Styrene and Honey Bane.

There’s also the uncanny epic sprawl of ‘Gondoliers’ (the A side of this LP is so right-on it just destroys) and a real misfit on the B-side called ‘Amputated Video’. The broken electronic yawp of this gem has to be heard to be believed; so many English players aspire to capture the truth of the Radiophonic Workshop in their synth-led tributes, but this is the real goods, something which has crawled out of a demented dream-version of 1970s BBC daytime television like a manifestation of all your worst Dr Who fears. I think this record wipes the floor with a lot of contemporary pretenders who dabble in “ceremonial” or “pagan” music without any real understanding of what they mean, and the breadth of its sonic ambition is enormous. Truly astounding, and highest recommendation for this incredible piece of work. From 15th November 2016.

My Solid Ground

Swiss composer Antoine Chessex is no stranger to incorporating electronic elements into his orchestral scores, as evidence by his collaboration with Valerio Tricoli on Dust – which was the last thing we heard from Chessex in 2012. On it, Tricoli added tape music and electronic music to the performance of a string trio, and some near-horrifying desolate music resulted. On today’s offering, Plastic Concrete / Accumulation (BOCIAN RECORDS BC-AAJ), Chessex has turned in two more ultra-modernistic compositions for a chamber ensemble (Apartment House), and roped in the great Jérôme Noetinger for the tape/electronic elements…in overall approach this isn’t too far away from Dust, but the music is much more rich and fascinating. The press release throws out descriptions such as “textural density” and “microtonal tensions” to account for these eerie twisting layers of sound, which often generate rather alarming dissonances and mixed harmonies that the human ear finds hard to tolerate. The album won’t exactly make you feel ill, but it certainly won’t induce a sense of well-being either.

On the first piece, ‘Plastic Concrete’, the music is performed by a mix of violin, clarinet, trombone, cello, acoustic double bass and electric guitar, and Apartment House – said Ensemble led by Anton Lukoszevieze, the cellist – turn in an inhumanly perfect rendition of this complex scored work, while Noetinger operates his trusty reel-to-reel tape recorder to bring in some “real time manipulations”. One avowed aim of working this way is to inject unexpected surprises into the scored piece, and thus break down the barriers between improvised and composed music (something a lot of people seem very determined to achieve these days). All 24 minutes of ‘Plastic Concrete’ are full of inexplicable incident, for sure, but the general tone of the piece remains quite solemn and serious, even when the string section are creating some pretty wild and hairy swoops into the upper registers. The sounds combine very pleasingly. If we had some attack-mode percussion added to this set, one might almost say the bold visions of Edgard Varèse were coming true.

‘Plastic Concrete’ was recorded live at Cafe OTO in London in 2014. 14 months later, ‘Accumulation’ was recorded in the same venue, with a different line-up of Apartment House, effectively now a string quartet for the occasion. Superficially, ‘Accumulation’ may lack the variety of its brother without the extra colours of woodwinds and electric guitar, but it’s much more focussed, and the strings fuse together into a tight knot of sound, again almost impossibly perfect. This may be due to the precise execution which Lukoszevieze’s crew are capable of, or the watertight arrangements of Chessex (I don’t know why but I sense he’s a man who leaves nothing to chance), or the subtle sonic blending which I assume is taking place under the gifted fingers of Noetinger and his tape recorder. The overall effect is extremely satisfying to hear, and I think both pieces can be counted as successes. From 21st November 2016.

It’s One O’Clock and Time For Lunch

Repetitions Of The Old City – I (NO LABEL) is the fifth album from Jack O’ The Clock, the unique American band led by Daimon Waitkus. We previously heard All My Friends followed by Night Loops, both of which prompted rapturous prose from this listener and a tendency to liken Waitkus to many American mavericks in the fields of pop music, poetry, and classical composition. Based on today’s spin I see no need to rescind any previous observations.

Other hallmarks of excellence stand out in this selection of nine highly unusual songs. There’s the contributions of the other players, especially the violin and viola of Emily Packard, and the woodwinds of Kate McLoughlin, which do much to add to the exotic old-time flavour of these highly contrived rustic gems (Waitkus assembles his songs as if following a blueprint for making Shaker furniture). Packard’s violin has no trouble following the impossible time signatures of these elaborate compositions; her instrument simply dances, floats in the sky. Waitkus’s songs are ingenious with their unexpected chord sequences and clashing tonalities, and the very inventive melodies whose intervals shouldn’t really work at all, yet they work perfectly. To say nothing of the abstruse and erudite lyrics, with their multi-syllabic thoughts packed into singable melodies. I also see Waitkus is quite the octopus when it comes to playing several instruments – guitar, mandolin, hammer dulcimer, pianet, guzheng and flute are all in his credit roster, making him a match for Alan Sondheim (who made Ritual-All-7-70 for ESP-Disk in 1967). I think Waitkus and Sondheim should get into a gun-fighting showdown someday over instrumental prowess, but Waitkus would probably win on points with his song-writing gifts.

The other observation that occurs to me today is that Jack O’ The Clock (although they are as American as 100 Apple Pies) are not that far apart from classic English prog rock of the 1970s which I love so much, especially Peter Gabriel’s Genesis, a band whose eccentricity, mannered vocals and skilful arrangements feel very much of apiece with the music of Damon Waitkus. The acoustic guitars are reminiscent of Mike Rutherford and his 12-string, and there are even flute solos, like on ‘Firth Of Fifth’…I rest my case. High recommendation for this peculiar strain of art rock. As far as I know Jack O’ The Clock are still not signed to a label and do self-releases of everything. This one is so wilfully obscure they don’t even put their name on the front or back cover. From 11 November 2016.

Chant Royal

We’ve been enjoying the playing of Portuguese viola player João Camões for many years now, mostly heard through his work with the undersung Algerian synth player Jean-Marc Foussat, but his appearance in the trio earnear was also worthy of mention. Today’s offering is all-acoustic however, and the five-piece Nuova Camerata perform pretty much as a classical string quartet, with the addition of a marimba. Besides Camões with his hard-working instrument, there’s the violin of Carlos Zingaro, who may just be the veteran of the group – he’s been improvising since the early 1990s, and in fact there’s an early-ish record from 1988 which he made with the great Richard Teitelbaum which I’d love to hear. Zingaro has appeared on some big labels (FMP, Hatology, For4Ears) and worked with some big names – Evan Parker, Joëlle Léandre, and Paul Lovens. The cellist Ulrich Mitzlaff is German-born, but he’s made his home in Portugal now, and played with many local musicians including the Lisbon Improvisation Players. There’s also Pedro Carneiro, classically trained marimba player, who once made the gaffe of releasing a record with the unfortunate title of Crazy Mallets, and the bass player Miguel Leiria Pereira, a sometime member of Variable Geometry Orchestra.

The group’s debut record Chant (IMPROVISING BEINGS ib50) arrives as seven separate improvisations, simply titled Chant I-VII; it reflects their shared interest in free improvisation as well as “contemporary erudite music”, as they would have it. What this means is a vaguely solemn tone to the day’s listen, and a slightly cold and slightly stiff way of playing, which doesn’t appear to have much of a jazz feel behind it, and suggests the players are more likely to get their kicks from a dissonant evening of Schoenberg and Alban Berg than from Mingus or Ornette. But this comparative lack of warmth is more than compensated by the assurance and precision of the playing – each dissonant collision is delivered with confidence and bravado, and the music does not want for drama and incident. There’s also a certain amount of “acoustic noise” in the mix for those of you listeners who can’t help hearing a little bit of Merzbow in everything; by “noise”, I mean the high-pitched whines of the violin and viola when they suddenly swoop up into the stratosphere, the rattling low scrapes from the double bass, and the vaguely percussive attacks that result from desiccated vulture-like claws clutching at wood and strings in a predatory fashion.

When you experience all of these elements swirling together in the high-quality recording stream that’s been pressed onto this disc, you’ll certainly be glad you checked in to this Nuova Camerata. While at times it feels like Carneiro is slightly out of step with the team with his stilted marimba playing, he does provide an interesting spine to the music, and an additional musical flavour without which the record might start to appear samey. When the other players run up and down their scales in a crazy free-form fashion, he will be there making a sympathetic scuttling sound like a large centipede running over the rocks. Lastly, note the cover photo; usually when I write about acoustic stringed music I dig out my well-worn metaphor of bare twigs and branches, but this time the visuals are already doing it for me. Very good!. From 18th October 2016.

14th June update: a correction received today from Pedro Carneiro.

“Thank you very much for your review and congratulations for your beautiful artwork!

“Is the only a small detail, but please allow me to clarify: the unfortunate title you mention on a very old disc of mine (Crazy Mallets) is not mine, but simply the title of one the compositions by one – so it seems in this case – unfortunate composer.

“With thanks once again, all good wishes,

“(message dictated due to shoulder injury. Apologies for typos and other possible mistakes)”

Pedro Carneiro

Orion’s Belt

We’ve previously heard a solo record by the French viola player Frantz Loriot, the 2015 album Reflections On An Introspective Path, which is an interesting benchmark of the extremes to which he’s prepared to go when he’s pushing to find new sounds on his vicious, biting stringed device. Good to see he’s found some like-minded fellows to make music with on Orion (WIDE EAR RECORDS WER022), where he’s joined by four other players to form the quintet Im Wald. Actually the above doesn’t properly represent the release, which is in fact composed and led by Tobias Meier, the Swiss composer and saxophonist. I just hapen to like Loriot, so we have to dive in somewhere.

Meier’s a real maverick when it comes to occupying and colonising that disputed space that lies between composition and improvisation. “He is interested in architectural gestures,” according to his own web page, “the scenarios and methods of design, the setting of tonal coordinates, along which the music gradually develops.” I kinda like this approach which seems to see music making as something similar to drawing a map, trying to tame the wilderness with grid references and longitudes. I might think he likens it to using CAD software, a process which also relies on plot points to create drawings and images, but such a suggestion would overlook the all-acoustic nature of this Im Wald record.

The other players include Matthias Spillmann, who is blowing constrained and taut passages on his trumpet as though his own life was in danger. You’d think he had a gun to his head and was bound and gagged in the basement of some masked kidnapper, petrified with terror. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad way to elicit a performance of great tension from any improviser. I might even advocate a programme of kidnapping improvisers on that basis, or even do that just for the hell of it. Loving these deathly Spillmann trumpet tones. He’s another Swiss guy who also puffs the flugelhorn and is well represented in many jazz bands, mostly appearing on the Swiss label Unit Records.

Additionally there’s the cello work of Nicola Romanò, and the bass of Raffaele Bossard. I’m not sure which of these sawing dudes is responsible for the lovely bassoid creaks and drones that underpin these tension-filled performances. But they both add a palpable air of menace to the whole Orion album, as though we’re waiting in slow motion for some dreaded event to pass, which we can see looming before us on the horizon. Both these guys are Swiss too so it looks like Loriot is the token French player here, even if he is also half Japanese.

Two of the tracks here refer to star formations (‘Nebulae’ and ‘Orion’) and immediately suggest the vastness of space. The music also creates space. This must be where the architectural gestures come into it. Carving up space like a town planner. The idea is “open and multi-layered sound fields”. We need more of these in the world, if this is anything to go by. If produced more actively, such fields might open up all sorts of possibilities for education, politics, and the environment. They would certainly help free the mind, give a man a chance to think. Meier is trying to bring together tiny musical gestures and large blocks of a grand design together in the same schema. To convey this, he uses the metaphor of a forest. Others, myself included, use less familiar metaphors, but the end result is the same. Meier somehow manages to keep his work creeping along with a slow but undeniable force, like the power of eighteen snails harnessed to a wind farm. He calls this an “agile organism”, but I call it liquid jelly…jelly laced with explosives that release their energy in a long, protracted ka-boom.

It takes rare skill to maintain this level of control and discipline for long periods of time, and these five fire-eaters are just the boys to do it. Although these understated acoustic drones may appear unassuming at first, you’ll soon be drawn into the zero-gravity zones they create, and find yourself exploring a vast realm of the unknown. Issued in a nifty screenprinted box and an art print foldout, with notes by Berni Doesegger, a mini-essay which he calls “The Space Of Music”. A slow-burning package of woodwind and string goodliness. From 21st September 2016.

Digging It

Thea Farhadian / Klaus Kürvers
eXcavations

USA BLACK COPPER EDITIONS blackcopper002 CD (2016)

In a week when Donald Trump and Angela Merkel got together to shoot the breeze at the White House, here’s another US-German collaborative enterprise for you to consider. Listeners will decide for themselves which they find the most edifying.

Thea Farhadian is a San Francisco Bay Area violinist, with deep roots in classical music as well as avant garde experimentalism and improvisation. A one time member of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, she’s since created an impressive catalogue of solo projects, collaborations, gallery works, acoustic, electronic and laptop experiments. Klaus Kürvers picked up the old bull fiddle in the 1960s, playing with the Essen Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as numerous jazz, free jazz and jazz rock combos. After a short 40 year break to work as an architect and cultural historian, he’s now an active member of the Berlin improvisers’ scene.

The fruits of their collaboration can be enjoyed on eXcavations, with twelve miniature improvisations for violin and double bass. The title suggests an archaeological approach, scraping away the layers to reveal more and more of what lies beneath. There’s certainly a lot of scraping going on (quite literally), and, at times, the double bass makes a noise like a stone sarcophagus being prised open. But it’s also true in a metaphorical sense, as deeper and deeper structures are revealed, hints of jazz tunes and chamber music emerging from the noise like fragments of Roman mosaic being turned up in a ploughed field. The artists themselves talk about “evoking a sense of the past” and creating a “rusty” sound, so the title is well chosen.

One question that it’s worth asking about improvised music is how well you feel the musicians are responding to each other. If it feels like they’re all just banging and scraping away without actually listening to each other, it’s not a lot of fun for anyone who wasn’t there at the time. On the other hand, if it feels like they’re really paying attention and creating something together in the moment, the results can be quite magical. I’m pleased to report that this record succeeds on that count.

eXcavations is the second release on the Black Copper label 1, a new imprint dedicated to improvised music. The website was down when I tried to check it out, but hopefully they’re still with us, preparing to launch more of these satisfying sounds into the world. Or perhaps Black Copper too has become an archaelogical artefact, awaiting excavation from the midden heap of defunct labels. Either way, it’s worthy of discovery.

  1. We noted the first one here – Ed.

Ame Hinode

The Kyūbi (NAKAMA RECORDS NKM005CD) record is by Jinchūriki, a duo of Norwegian violinists Håkon Aase and Adrian Løseth Waade. You may be familiar with them through their other group Filosofer, and Waade plays in the quintet Nakama as well as the much larger improvising group Skadedyr (noted previously for their record with the big crab on the cover). Kyūbi is an understated and largely quiet acoustic record, with 20 short tracks – it’s a bit of extra work to get onto its wavelength, as the musical statements are so brief that they pass by before you even start to pick up the vibe of where these two mysterious Norwegians might be coming from. But there are interesting details and textures hidden inside these concise, blank utterances, and it’s worth persevering for the moments when they get quite worked up, packing a large volume of frenetic plucks and abstracted notes into quite small spaces.

They also like to limn imaginary snowy landscapes, using creaky scrapes and long tones from their wooden devices and strings. The aim of these musicians is something to do with exploring limits – of their instruments, of their sound, of themselves; cheap kamagra oral jelly online perhaps they have in mind the musical equivalent of a commando weekend where you’re dropped onto a cold moor wearing only a vest and pants. It’s to their credit that they keep these observations so brief; the average innings here is less than two minutes, and their best pieces zip by in about 40 seconds or less. I think if they stretched into the 7 minute zone, a practice which by the way seems to be de rigeur for many improvising combos, they might turn into flabby, boring drones. However, brevity doesn’t always equal profundity, and some of these tunes can seem inconclusive; but at their best, Jinchūriki pose acoustic riddles which you can puzzle over for hours.

The cover image, also by Håkon Aase, seems to suggest a volcano emitting a fiery plume and much smoke, but a volcano is the last thing on the listener’s mind when faced with these gentle and rather cold musical miniatures. The names Jinchūriki and Kyūbi apparently both come from a 1990s manga and anime series called Naruto, which tells the story of a disaffected teenage ninja warrior. From 26th September 2016.

The Payoff

Pierre-Yves Martel
Estinto
CANADA E-TRON REC ETRC025 CD (2016)

Estinto is an interesting title for this disc, as it means “extinct” or “(a debt) paid off”. However, what or whom Pierre-Yves Martel is paying off with this single 54 minute piece of music is not acknowledged. Treble viol and harmonica played simultaneously by Monsieur Martel, in a room, while sitting on a chair, probably; whilst being recorded by Ross Murray. It’s kind of like a pulsing sub-Wandelweiser silence-followed-by-signal-followed-by-silence piece; so if you imagine a guy sat there on his chair playing harmonica and treble viol simultaneously for 54 minutes. More like durational performance art, which arguably you might prefer to experience on dvd.

If you look at his website he is presenting himself more as an artist – it’s that ubiquitous term: “sound artist”, rather than “musician” although he does say that “he also works outside of instrumental music altogether, using a variety of objects rife with new sonic possibilities, from contact-mics and speakers to motors, wheels, surfaces and textures.” Like the label, he is Canadian; from Montréal I believe? The label is based not far away, in Hull, Québec. It is a piece of work that has a little trouble with its own existence outside of the artist’s head… I hesitate to use the word “conceptual” because there isn’t really much of a concept here. Clearly he’s playing with silence – the idea of using silence as a compositional tool which as I said before, is an idea I think he may have seen used by members of the Wandelweiser collective – although its equally possible that he came to this way of working in his own logical or logistical process of development – it is interesting to me (for reasons that admittedly have nothing to do with this disc before me) that Wandelweiser have gained or encouraged a reputation for using silence or quietness when quite a lot of their output is undeniably maximalist; Michael Pisaro’s A Wave And Waves for example – you couldn’t get much more maximalist than that, or at least this is the Greg Stuart rendering of it that I’m thinking of.

Pierre-Yves Martel’s work here is aimless, lacks the thrust of development and is somewhat repetitive. There are only two major changes that happen; although as an architectural tool compositionally this strategy works well. Overall, perhaps it could occupy the function of background music for an art gallery, say, were it not for the fact that sonically, it is so strident. This is a challenging piece. Do I applaud the artist’s decision to produce this piece of work? Yes. Yes, I do. Will I listen to it again at home for pleasure? I’ll let you know.