(Evil Rabbit Records)
kind of album, and one that will offer a stimulating audio experience to those
willing to take the risk, in a way Rotations could be filed under
"traditional" - provided one has a look at the year on the calendar,
that is. Quite vivacious when it comes to timbre, highly inventive when it
comes to the organization of the material, it's "open" enough to
actively engage listeners while not being so "indeterminate" as to
make them wholly responsible to find meaning.
involved, in alphabetical order: Antonio Borghini, Meinrad Kneer, Klaus
Kürvers, and Miles Perkin. The liner notes indicate the position of each
musician in the stereo spread, making it possible for attentive listeners -
headphones are of course welcome - to perceive the individual contribution of
fine recorded sound by Roy Carroll, the album was mixed and mastered by Miles
Perkin. At 48' 10", an album of perfect length, just like an old vinyl
record. Excellent dynamics.
the fact that recording sessions were concentrated in a single day, I'd guess a
certain amount of preparation was involved, since the type of music featured on
the album - the cover doesn't say, but my guess is we are presented with the
fruit of "scored improvisations" and "graphic scores"
- is often in danger of coming out as formless. Starting from my first
listening session I perceived that I was confronted with something already
organized, the opposite of those circumstances where one "finds" meaning
by simply becoming accustomed to listening to the same random succession of
events over and over, so that they appear to have been given meaning right from
about the featured instrumentation, I hear you say. Well, I could mention synthesizers,
percussion, vocals, echoes, and low frequencies, since this is the timbral
panorama that's in front of us. But no, it's "just" four double
basses. There, I said it.
is the kind of information I want to reveal last, since my experience in the
trenches tells me there are a lot of courageous listeners when it comes to
unusual sounds, the same listeners becoming fearful when it comes to
encountering particular instrumental combinations as written on paper.
goes without saying that it's the great variety of acoustic timbres that's one
of the most stimulating feature of this work. Here I think that the editing and
mixing have given an added dimension thanks to variations in volume and the use
of artificial reverberant spaces, so providing the material with additional ex
post shaping. Whether this is true, also the quantity of any ex post
intervention, are fatally bound to remain hypothetical entities.
think that when it comes to the general framework this should suffice, so let's
have a quick look at those pieces.
Crows is a good starting point. It fades in with a taste of Ayler-like
"Free Jazz". There's a central episode that's quite percussive. A
lively "tutti" at the end.
is split in two parts. The first part features a melodic arpeggiated phrase
that is played in hocketing fashion by all doubles basses, notes traveling in
the stereo spread with changing colours; a kind of flamenco chord played unison
takes the first part to its close. The second part features chords played
unison with arco, the whole sounding not too far from slow renditions of Roscoe
Mitchell's Nonaah; then the chord blooms into a melody, all instruments playing
independently. There's an air of austere lyricism, à la Mitchell. In closing, a
main function of the two brief episodes titled Interlude I and II is to frame
the long piece titled Rotations. Both feature arpeggiated, percussive climates.
like Inside, the long (14' 56") piece titled Rotations sounds like the
outcome of a "scored improvisation" and shows a more
"active" dimension in the mix, with the addition of some effects.
There are elements which sound like "scrubbing" and
"loops". At times one can almost hear a kind of "ethnic flute".
Starting at about 5', rhythm accelerates, then starting at about 7' there's a
funny combination of timbres that appears to pair Hans Reichel's daxophone and
the square wave of an old VCS3. We hear what sounds like a choir, then a more
rarefied air. (Then, silence - like a space reserved for applause.)
& Escalators sounds like a "programmatic" piece, maybe a
"graphic score". There's an ongoing ascending movement. Then, an
improvisation along "minimal/meditative" lines, with a certain
Eastern flavour. We hear "vocals" (?). In closing, a long melodic
descending phrase, sounding like a tape slowing down.
features fine percussive work, with a "loop" of harmonics, and
elements placed in space, to add depth, something which reminded me of Biota.
Here I thought I could detect a greater use of added reverberant space. This is
a very fine piece, which sounds more "abstract" than those around it.
By is the album's close. Though I'm aware my definition is in a way too facile,
to me this piece sounds like what a still observer perceives when immersed in
the changing sound space of a railway station. It's a fine piece, and one that
doesn't become predictable with repeated listening sessions. Theatre or movie
directors are invited to join in.
© Beppe Colli 2014
| May 6, 2014