Cut a Rug

P.O.P. (Psychology of Perception)

Here, Zeitkratzer’s Reinhold Friedl meets Hannes Strobl, ably assisted by alto saxophonist Hayden Chisholm (no relation to the Scottish jazz trombonist George Chisholm), all the better to further blur the already uncertain boundaries and relationships between improvised music and composition. To my ears, every sound I hear on this disc is or could be the result of serendipitous events on prepared pianos, or happy accidents with non-specified electronic gadgetry blended with other electric and acoustic instrumentation, but its authors resolutely declare its status as “composed” within the sleeve credits.

However, it seems Messrs Strobl und Friedl are also equally interested, as we can plainly see from the full colour photography on the sumptuous and expensively-printed foldover sleeve, in rugs. Yes, rugs. In fact, we are given a brief yet comprehensive rundown of the relative merits of three famous types of rug, which also serve as the track titles; “Tabriz”, “Senneh” and “Kerman”. A close-up of a Kerman rug design liberally adorns the cover of this cd. Whether P.O.P. were attempting to invest the attributes of each type of rug into the corresponding musical piece or simply show off their latest holiday purchases remains unclear.

To designate this music “composition” suggests many, many hours staring at a computer screen running ProTools HD, and like all productions in this vein, I would have liked to have had sight of the score. Of course, it is possible to record anything and run it through the software Sibelius and let that spit out some manuscript, but I think you’ll agree a print-out of a recording of Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise created by Sibelius would pall into insignificance when placed next to the actual score. Even piano preparations can be easily scored and it may be these recordings were performed straight through in one take. The second track, “Senneh”, consists of seemingly random ticking and chiming reminiscent of what Lee Patterson was up to around 2004/5. In short, there’s nothing here you probably haven’t heard before, but it is an extremely pleasant listen nonetheless.