RAUMFLUCHTEN

Raumfluchten

RAUMFLUCHTEN
Jamie Drouin | Sabine Vogel
catalogue IN018
32 minutes

In the debut release from the duo of Sabine Vogel (flutes, stones) and Jamie Drouin (modular synthesizer, radio), we are treated to a series of short, jewel-like compositions which push the combination of their respective instruments to sonic extremes. Entitled RAUMFLUCHTEN, the German term for a suite of rooms, the album follows the two musicians through seven improvisations which, while thematically connected by the materials employed, remain as distict and contrasting arrangements that are sure to suprise the listener.

Recorded live at Sabine Vogel’s Potsdam home on October 15, 2011.
 
 
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REVIEWS

Tonight, another new release on the Infrequency label run by the Canadian duo Lance Austin Olsen and Jamie Drouin. This one is a duo disc containing seven short improvisations by Drouin, playing modular synth and radio, and the German flautist Sabine Vogel, who also adds stones to flute on the list of instrumentation used. The disc comes wrapped in a further beautiful cover to rival others on the label, presumably painted by Olsen, whose work in general as a visual artist is remarkable. The seven pieces on Raumfluchten are each relatively different in shape and tone, though as an overarching principle, the music here is quiet and made up of small, undramatic incidents that sit quietly adjacent to normally only one other sound at any given time. Its an understated affair then, but does not lack both beauty as the relatively tight range of sounds in either musician’s palette combine in lovely ways but also a degree of complexity as the way sounds are fitted together can create awkward shapes that bely the soft dynamic they are played in. The final seventh track for instance mixes closely miked short blasts of earthily dry air from Vogel with recurring soft tones from Drouin. The simple and yet affecting way that these two simple elements combine make this album what it is.
The album art sums up the music perfectly for me. Two simple forms come together, touching at one precise point so as to not only combine the forms but throw the space between the two into disarray and new shapes again. The negative spaces in the music often as interesting to listen to as the sounds themselves. The two musicians generally do not attempt to layer sounds on top of one another and there is a sensation of clean space between the two musicians, but it is often interrupted or cut up into new shapes again. Excuse so many visual metaphors but there is something quite painterly in this music, but not in a dense mass of brushstrokes way, more the precision flair of Japanese calligraphy, bold free strokes placed in carefully chosen places, intersecting with others in few, but impactful places.

This is very much a CD that appeals to my tastes then. Its reserved, quiet style is the antithesis of chattering busy improv, though it is clear that the pieces here were created in the moment with the tools to hand. The decisions made however have been carefully thought through after a degree of consideration rather than the rough and tumble of most improvisation. Raumfluchten is a fine CD then that demands a befitting approach from the listener. It is however a very nice set of musical vignettes that I can heartily recommend along with all of th either recent discs on this excellent little label.

Richard Pinnell | The Watchful Ear

Raumfluchten est une piste de trente minutes divisée en sept sections et interprétée par le duo Jamie Drouin (synthétiseur analogique, radio) et Sabine Vogel (flûte, cailloux). Sept tableaux plutôt calmes, aux sonorités et aux atmosphères à chaque fois surprenantes. Fréquences radios, bruits de clés, cailloux frottés et frappés, électricité dérangée, souffles humains et électriques, clapotis, fréquences analogiques saturées et calmes, quelques sons épars s’entremêlent avec grâce au profit d’une atmosphère souvent sereine ou même contemplative. Une contemplation du son et de l’interaction parfaite entre deux musiciens inventifs et réceptifs au discours de chacun. Un discours toujours adapté à l’autre mais de manière intransigeante et sans compromis.

Cette suite de trente minutes propose des tableaux aux atmosphères pleines de contrastes, à l’image de cette étrange pochette ornée d’un clair-obscur surexposé. Des tableaux d’ombres et de lumières, de synthèses analogiques et de bruits acoustiques, de silence et de bruit. Le but de ces sept improvisations est de surprendre l’auditeur, et autant dire que le pari est réussi, car pour ma part, je n’avais encore jamais entendu rien de semblable: une musique principalement composée d’éléments abstraits qui, se superposant, finissent par former des figures concrètes, narratives ou expressives. Entre abstraction et figuration, entre lumière et obscurité, entre bruit et musique, entre silence et son, la situation des musiciens paraît intermédiaire mais la musique est tout de même sans compromis, et l’expressionnisme du duo est aussi puissant que sa capacité d’écoute, d’interaction, et surtout, d’inventivité. Une suite peut-être courte mais riche et dense, aux atmosphères très travaillées, pour une suite d’esquisses qui se mettent en valeur les unes à la suite des autres. Tableaux calmes, poétiques et sensibles, lumineux à certains moments, obscurs à d’autres, mais toujours précis et absorbant.

Une immersion profonde et dense dans des bruits obscurs et des notes lumineuses. Très bon.

Julien Heraud | Improv Sphere

Another gorgeous cover! And the music’s really fine as well. Drouin (modular synth, radio) and Vogel (flutes, stones) fashion seven pieces that ably straddle the divide between the contemplative and the uneasy. The music is fairly quiet and casts a gentle kind of light at first blush but, as the sounds unfold, a troubled kind of knottiness emerges. As the disc progresses, this urgency becomes more and more apparent, full blown by the final track, yet still the tension remains, the synth reining in, to an extent, the vaulting, rampaging flute. This series of rooms, then (“Raumfluchten” translating to a suite of rooms) becomes something of a drama, a complex interchange. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but to my ears the personal-ness of this comes through strongly, more so than in most duos of improvised music. Drouin is reasonably restrained throughout, very adept at introducing commentary that’s both respectful and provocative while Vogel seems more willing to push things into uncomfortable territory, her flutes bubbling, lava-like, stoking the furnace that forms a substrate.

A very consistent recording, each section flowing smoothly and fitting in with its neighbors; given the title, one can’t help but think of open portals between rooms, walking through, looking back and considering what was said in the last one, looking forward into the net with some excitement and some trepidation.

Brian Olewnick | Just Outside

“Excellent collaboration for flute and electronics recorded in Berlin last year.”

Another Timbre | Recommendations from other labels

TUMBLE

Tumble

TUMBLE
Johnny Chang | Jamie Drouin
catalogue IN017
34 minutes

When the light is just right in a space, we can observe fine particles of dust shifting in the air currents, vibrating in place, before being shuffled away into unexpected patterns.

I relate this story not to describe TUMBLE as being a gentle album, but that its method of construction is one of an observable, unpredictable relationship between two elements.

Macroscopic shards and particles of sound are coaxed out of Johnny Chang’s violin, partially familiar to the ear, in that we recognize the instrument, yet the point of view is one through a magnifying glass where, instead of a concentrating on the defined tone of a vibrating string, we hear the action itself – the physical meeting between rosin, hair, and gut.

Moving along an intersecting plane, Jamie Drouin’s undulating harmonics of sine tones and statics, create an electrical air current which pushes, redefines and, at times, alienates Chang’s violin. Drouin occupies an undefined territory between foreground and background – the exact influence on Chang is in flux, but his tones breathe alternating warm and cold life into the compositions.

TUMBLE documents the first recording session of Berlin-based Johnny Chang and British Columbia-based Jamie Drouin in Chang’s Berlin studio on November 23, 2011.
 
 
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REVIEWS

Tonight a review of the second of three CDs here involving the British Columbian electronics / analogue synth musician Jamie Drouin. On this disc, titled Tumble he is paired with the Berlin based American violinist Johnny Chang, who I know mostly through his connections to the Wandelweiser school of composition, and sadly not that many CDs, and certainly not CDs of improvisation as the music on Tumble certainly is. Released on the Infrequency label, which is co-run by Drouin, the thirty-four minute long disc captures a recording session made at Chang’s studio late last year. the result is really rather good and has been on occasional play here a lot since the disc first arrived about a month or so back.

The first thing that hit me on hearing this album is that it isn’t anywhere near as quiet as I suspected it might have been, given my previous experiences with Drouin’s music and Chang’s connection to Wandelweiser. It is in fact quite often quite brutally upfront and almost aggressive. OK, so we are still hearing relatively soft analogue synth tones and vibrations accompanied by violin, so there is nothing earthshakingly loud here, but Chang has his instrument amplified so that every sinew of his bow as it draws across either strings or the violin’s body are magnified and placed on top of some often quite intense buzzing synth.

The focus of the album seems to be to follow the familiar patterns of placing acoustic sounds against obviously electronic ones, and adding shorter more incidental elements to longer sustained tones. Given that these relatively common ways of working are being followed here, the music becomes really interesting to listen to simply because of the choice of sounds. there is little we haven’t heard before elsewhere from Drouin’s synth patches, but his contributions work well because they are chosen at just the right times, with sudden shifts in intensity, brittleness and only just held in check aggression keeping the sounds interesting throughout. the electronic sounds never really become mere background washes, they have enough punch to them via their elementally simple forms to really form more than a bed for the violin. Drouin reacts to Chang’s input rather than just let his sound sit and be scribbled over.

That said, the way Chang cuts, rips even into the textural and colourful base of sound is a fine moment.Early in the first of the four pieces here the violin really marks out its territory by wrenching out some quit terrifyingly guttural screeches that overpower everything and really add a sharp shock to the deep rolling bass tones Drouin is working with at the time. After those early exchanges the duo seem to settle into a pattern of surprise and nudging uncertainty rather than anything more settled, though the near violence of the opening track is never quite equalled. Its all about those juxtapositions between the very different sets of sounds, the shadow cast across the synthetic tones by the expressive actions of the miked up violin working very well indeed. This is good music then, really quite simple at a basic level, a clash of two sets of sounds that in theory shouldn’t work together but do very nicely indeed. Chang in particular impressed me here, the confidence and directness that flows out of this music taking me by pleasant surprise. It all just hangs together well though, structurally and conceptually . It is not as interesting a CD as others that fall my way, but this is made up for with the intensity of purpose shown throughout. Another nice one from Infrequency then, with another very beautiful sleeve image.

Richard Pinnell | The Watchful Ear

ABSENCE & FORGIVENESS

Absence-Forgiveness

ABSENCE & FORGIVENESS
Jamie Drouin | Lance Austin Olsen
catalogue IN016
42 minutes

“Top Ten albums of 2011” – Crow with no Mouth

Expanses of silence and delicate fluctuations of distant white noise are given structure and potency through sudden, brief gestures, and disembodied utterances in Drouin/Olsen’s third album of un-edited studio improvisations, ABSENCE & FORGIVENESS. Through generous use of space, a greater understanding of the individual artists’ voices becomes possible as they engage in a highly restrained challenge-response conversation between their respective instruments.
 
 
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‘No matter how much in touch with the world of improvised music I think I might be, no matter how many CDs fall through my letter box there are still odd occasions when Brian writes about something I hadn’t heard of, my interest is piqued and I go and buy the CD in question. The most recent example of this was a new disc by the duo of Jamie Drouin and Lance Austin Olsen, two Canadian musicians who, according to the very nicely designed website for their very nicely designed label Infrequency Editions have been releasing CDs for ten years now without me noticing them. Shows what I know….

The disc I ordered then is a recent duo disc named Absence and Forgiveness. Its a CDr wrapped in a very lovely, though somewhat bereft of information card sleeve released in an edition of 100. The image on the sleeve is of a monochrome reproduction of what looks like a simple, unadorned yet detailed wash of colour. This image seems apt for the music on the disc, which masks a wealth of detail and careful construction behind a mask of simplicity and restraint.

It isn’t clear what either of the musicians work with to make their music, but it is vaguely speaking electro-acoustic in texture, perhaps guitar pick-ups or contact mics are in use, perhaps instruments (tabletop guitar? I sense I hear strings here and there) are used, perhaps not, but it doesn’t matter much. There is a radio to be heard often throughout the three pieces, contributing little jabs of spoken word in the first pieces, and longer streams in the final, slightly more dense third and final track. The music here sounds like it was improvised without any post production, though I may of course be completely wrong. It is generally speaking very sparse, quiet and full of either white space, or quite often grey expanses of varying density and texture. Scattered about though are little fragments of sound of varying types, some radio bursts, some sudden hits of white noise, shards of harsh feedback etc, but these are infrequent and placed with great care so as to continually challenge and shape the music into different directions, keep it from slipping into any kind of ambient flatlining.

One interesting element here is that, if I had been given this disc blind, I would probably have guessed at this being a solo recording. I say this because the music feels very much like a single, purposeful construction, perhaps in the vein of something like Daniel Jones’ recent When on and off collide. While the music here is full of tension formed from the mix of jagged edged fragments, silence and grey fields of texture, it doesn’t feel like a struggle between two musicians, and it doesn’t sound like there is the usual push and pull of improvised interplay taking place. It seems Drouin and Olsen have been playing together for a long time, and it really shows here as the pair seem to work together to one, quiet, subtly measured goal- their sounds are thoroughly complimentary and their musical ‘voices’ are indistinguishable.

As Brian wrote in his review of the disc, there is actually little here that we haven’t heard quite often before, but while the array of sounds used, and the quietly contemplative atmosphere attained are familiar from a number of other releases in this area, there is something somehow quite mature and refined about this duo’s music. Its as if while their palette is familiar how they apply the colours has a subtle, yet confident voice. A really strong forty-two minutes then and a nice discovery. Looking forward to hearing more.’

Richard Pinnell | The Watchful Ear

‘One of those all too rare experiences when an entirely lovely recording drops in from out of the blue, or Canada in this case. Though not much info is provided, both appear to be utilizing electronics of some sort and the three pieces are live improvisations. They share an extreme delicacy and quiet, combining faint sine-like tones with various other small sounds, buzzes, clicks, etc., all spread out, gently pricking the space, weaving this way and that. By description, it doesn’t sound all that different from any number of efforts in recent years, but something about this one stands apart–the sensibilities involved are unique and, I get the feeling, simply more intelligent than many, making subtle choices that you don’t come across often. You think you have things pegged then, on the second track, they don’t so much as veer off as take an adjacent path that was there all along but untrod, introducing brief, low flutters and tiny snatches of spoken word, coloring the field in an unexpected but, retrospectively, absolutely appropriate manner.

The final track seems to bring in all these elements, but again, very low key, very subtly. Something about it just gels even more than the first two, feels even more a natural extension of one’s room space. Really good, better than I’m able to delineate here.

It’d be a shame if this one gets overlooked. Do yourselves a favor and check it out.’

Brian Olewnick | Just Outside

The haiku is, paradoxically, a poem about silence. Its very core is silence. There is probably no shorter poetic form in world literature than the classical haiku with its seventeen syllables, and yet the masters put these seventeen syllables down with a gesture of apology, which makes it clear that words merely serve the silence.

All that matters is the silence. The haiku is a scaffold of words; what is being constructed is a poem of silence; and when it is ready, the poet gives a little kick, as it were, to the scaffold. It tumbles, and silence alone stands.
~ David Steindl-Rast

I have listened and listened to three releases on the Infrequency Editions imprint these past several months, three works by the life-long painter and decade-long sound artist Lance Austin Olsen, and a musician with considerable experience in the exploration of how environments and humans interact, Jamie Drouin.
Many of the sounds in their collaborative work, considered as discrete elements, are familiar to my ears, and certain referents come to mind upon repeated listens – the multivalented, jigsaw assemblage of Absence & Forgiveness is somewhat reminiscent of the Annette Krebs/Taku Unami’s duo release, motubachii; the sustained interest in extreme pitches, heard on Savonarola and 1498, particularly those on the frequency scale that get my dog’s alert attention, invoke the Stasis Duo, as well as the invariable touchstone for this area, Sachiko M and Nakamura.

They are, however, set apart in the field not by a sui generis sound palette, but by their approach as a duo who clearly work with a heightened, joint intuition for the placement of sound and silence, and the subtlety with which the scaffolding for the ephemera created by their poor man’s arsenal of sound-generators – a suitcase analog, some scarred amplified copper plates and a toy guitar – is created, then kicked away. Drouin and Olsen no sooner have their sounds meticulously stacked, layered or threaded together, and they send them tumbling, sometimes precipitously. Every sound that is jettisoned impinges on us with the sound of its subsequent, frequently sudden, absence.
Given the length of the three releases considered here, 51, 42 and 31 minutes respectively, it is crucial, if the duo are to sustain interest in this approach, that they maintain a balance between subtle, intricate construction, sound canvases built up largely with minute sonic strokes and textures [though they can snap you to with an occasional tossed bomb of noisy grit and scree] , and the recurring collapse and disintegration of their definite and indefinite pitches.

They do so, over and over; non-linear, seldom assuaging us by allowing the ear to get comfortable within a certain area or development, yet supremely unhurried, Drouin and Olsen make music like they have spent no small amount of time reflecting on and linking their sound work to their visual work. Music, of course, makes it possible for the duo to return our attention,
again and again, to the silence at the core of their eventful, often near-silent, sound world.

1498 approximates an electrical storm – about two weeks ago, my part of the world experienced just such a hella storm, during which I happened to be listening to 1498’s skitter, clatter and roar. This made for a near-perfect milieu of sound and weather. Olsen’s amplified copper plates, recycled from his dry point engraving works, hold a world of unstable ambient sounds, and Olsen unlocks them all.
Savonarola is the release that has the sort of guitar string scrapes and smushed Brillo-pad effects Keith Rowe developed with his restless tool accretion years ago – I mention these as they are really among the very few familiar sounds along the way, where Olsen’s toy guitar is concerned. Drouin generates great clouds of black, smokey low-end rumble and distressingly high tones that fake and feint toward a Shepard scale, making their abrupt disappearance the more startling.

There are more than a few passages of solemnity and, insuring the duo never settle into the dronesphere, alarm, tension and apprehension. This is another distinct quality of this duo, one difficult to attain, I think, in such abstract music – a sometimes powerful sense of reportage or narrative about the current state of the world. Only on Absence & Forgiveness do Drouin and Olsen allow into their materials an explicit hint of that anxious world, what is on the end of every fork – nearing the end of the piece, radio captures of a woman being interviewed about a murder and the absence of justice, her voice gradually clarified in the white hiss and other racket it is embedded in. The emergence of this report is unnerving and moving, and the fragments of words like forgiveness and justice hang for a moment in the air, before collapsing into a loud hum of bass, then silence.

I am, as often as not, drawn especially to the work of musicians in duo; the pairing of Jamie Drouin and Lance Austin Olsen bears the sort of fruit that makes the duo form so compelling – no place to hide or obfuscate, the great potential for a unilaterally-generated disaster, but equally the potential for what buddhists call the one taste – that is the state in which the boundaries between dissolve, and, as in Drouin and Olsen’s music, what is revealed is one mind. Or as Steindl-Rast has it, the form is scrapped, and we return to silence.

Jesse Goin | Crow with no Mouth

Daca n-ati auzit pana acum de Jamie Drouin si Lance Olsen, nu va ingrijorati – nici eu nu auzisem si cred ca nu mai mult de o duzina de oameni de pe planeta au ascultat albumul lor de cand a aparut. Pe pagina lor de RateYourMusic au cinci note in total, ceea ce e cam putin chiar si pentru zona de improvizatie libera, avand in vedere ca albumul a aparut acum mai bine de jumatate de an. Eu il tot ascult de vreo luna jumate si am observat ca e albumul din 2011 la care tind sa ma intorc cu cea mai mare placere si insistenta, din tot ce am ascultat pana acum. Atmosfera creata pe Absence & Forgiveness are ceva foarte atragator pentru mine, s-ar putea sa fie o reactie pur subiectiva dar e genul de muzica de care nu-mi pot imagina ca o sa ma plictisesc.

Ar fi cam greu sa descriu muzica in termeni obiectivi, si asta pentru ca sunetele de pe album sunt folosite cu mare economie, sunt extrem de discrete si, in general, de volum mic. Ma tot gandesc sa transform blogul asta si sa scriu in engleza, ca sa pot si eu umple spatiul cu expresii de genul “clicks and pops, crackling sounds, soft purrs and sharp buzzes” atunci cand descriu albume din zona asta. Se pare ca functioneaza pentru multa lume. Constrans fiind de limba romana, nu prea am cum sa le descriu, decat daca apelez la cuvinte ca “bazaituri” sau “fosnete” sau “pocnituri”, care suna aiurea si pot induce in eroare potentialii ascultatori in fata unei muzici care, daca-i acorzi o sansa si un minim de atentie, chiar suna fantastic. In orice caz, ceea ce pot spune despre ascultarea albumului de fatza e ca e ca si cum te-ai juca cu mufa aia de la calculator in care intra boxele, bagand si scotand cablul in timp ce stai cu urechea lipita de boxe ca sa prinzi sunetele produse. In plus, mai avem sample-uri cu voci din emisiuni tv, zgomote incidentale si taceri bine plasate.

Poate ca are legatura cu momentele/locurile in care l-am ascultat, sau cu starea mea de spirit de la primele auditii la care imi place sa ma intorc, dar pentru mine Absence & Forgiveness e cel mai interesant album improvizat al anului. Sobru, elegant, creeaza o atmosfera intensa cu mijloace putine. E impartit in trei bucati, dintre care mai jos o puteti asculta pe prima, dar e un album care se vrea ascultat pe indelete, in intimitate si liniste.

Searaploaieparc blog

LINNAEUS’ HYDRA

Linaeus-Hydra

LINNAEUS’ HYDRA
Crys Cole | Jamie Drouin | Lance Austin Olsen
catalogue IN015
43 minutes

In 1735 Carl Linnaeus visited Hamburg to inspect the famous taxidermied remains of a seven-headed hydra owned by the Burgomeister. Linnaeus soon exposed it as a not-so-clever fake – the jaws and claws were from weasels, the body covered by various snake skins. With this ‘wonder of nature’ now rendered valueless (the Burgomeister had hoped to sell his hydra to a collector), Linnaeus quickly left Hamburg, fearing for his safety.

LINNAEUS’ HYDRA documents the first meeting of Crys Cole (contact microphones, no-input mixer), Jamie Drouin (modular synthesizer, radio), and Lance Austin Olsen (amplified copper plates, objects) at Drouin’s home on July 23, 2011. The three improvised compositions display an immediate symbiotic relationship between the three artists, their individual styles defined, yet open to momentarily dissolving into an effortless, collaborative painting of a scene.

Cole’s contact microhones, at times sounding like organisms slithering across the ocean floor (or their fake counterparts!), gently brush against the coarser palette of Olsen’s distorted rubbings of copper and rubber. These corporeal sounds are alternately contrasted and magnified by the weaving sine waves and modulated static of Drouin’s electronics.

Like the Burgomeister’s ill-fated hydra, the album LINNAEUS’ HYDRA constructs richly textured environments for the listener, nestled along the borders between imagination and fact.
 
 
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This is a lovely recording yet one of those that, when pressed to describe “why”, leaves me with few descriptives. In a a sense, it fits easily enough into quasi-similar work from the recent past – a trio wending their careful, quiet-yet-bumpy way through a field of intimate sounds. As I know I’ve said before, rather unhelpfully, it boils down to the choices involved and how those choices mesh with my own (hopefully always changing) sensibility. The means employed (Cole: contact microphones, no-input mixer; Drouin: modular synthesizer, radio; Olsen: amplified copper plates, objects) are, these days, unremarkable enough, but the combination works and breathes quite well, plastically here, ethereally there, metallic sometimes, sandy and scratchy others, generally at low volume but, crucially, with no feeling of constraint in that regard, simply not happening, on that day, to get very loud.

I suppose the best one can say is that my attention never wandered. I was always willing to be led down these paths, always finding more than enough to perk my interest, to tickle my brain and ears. A very good job indeed.

Brian Olewnick | Just Outside

Tonight a new release on the beautifully packaged Infrequency Editions label run by the Canadian musicians Jamie Drouin and Lance Austin Olsen, who until recently both seemed to be living in Berlin, where this trio recording, alongside fellow visiting musician Crys Cole was captured. The disc is entitled Linnaeus’ Hydra, taking its name curiously from the tale of an eighteenth century Hamburg taxidermist who claims to have found the remains of a seven headed hydra, only for it to be proved a fake. I have no idea how this CD connects in any way to that story, but its a nice old tale all the same and I guess you have to name albums of improvised music something…

The music then is a rather lovely forty-five minutes of minimal, textural electrocacoustic improvisation split across three tracks. Cole works very simply with contact miss and a no=input mixer, Olsen apparently rubs and scrapes pieces of copperplate and other objects, some of them rubber and Drouin uses a modular synth and radio. The music inhabits a quiet, yet constantly agitated area. The three musicians seem to work together exceptionally well, with Cole blending into the already well established Drouin/Olsen duo seamlessly. The sense of three musicians working towards one single outcome is pronounced, with the balance between the three so evenly spread that it is rarely easy to work out who is doing what, with only the really obvious metallic scrapes, little grabs of radio or synthesised scribbles ever easy to pin down to one person. Much of the time the music just blends into one, with the contributions of each musician slight enough for the cumulative result to easily appear to be one person’s work.

Stylistically, I am very much reminded of the work produced by parts of the London and Berlin scenes around the turn of the millennium, with London’s Wastell/Davis/Davies groupings when in electronic mode clearest in my head. There isn’t then anything particularly groundbreakingly new here. Quiet electroacoustic improv focussed on little textures and soft tones with tiny bits of radio dropped in aren’t new news, but this CD succeeds simply because of how well it is done. The pieces fall together with what sounds like much ease, and yet the end result isn’t just pretty, there is enough of a spiky bite to be found amongst the soft glows and sandy textures to draw metaphorical blood. The radio grabs burst out of nowhere, things splutter to a halt when you least expect them, and a calming tone is very likely to be ripped across by a sore enduring tear of contact mic abrasion. It is hard to know what else to say about it beyond further description of the sounds and how they fit together. The secret is, as ever, to just listen and join the flow, let the surprises surprise you, the warming moments hug you. An all round invigorating, if quietly soft atmosphere split across three parts. A good one indeed.

Richard Pinnell | The Watchful Ear

1498

1498

1498
Jamie Drouin | Lance Austin Olsen
catalogue IN014
31 minutes

An unofficial ‘part two’ to their debut album SAVONAROLA, Drouin/Olsen’s album 1498 is a deceivingly quieter offering on first listen, but one quickly realizes that is not exactly the case: just below the surface of 1498 is an immense amount of power, like standing beside a large electrical transformer and the hair on your arms vibrating.

As with their previous album, 1498 contains un-edited live and studio improvisations using a suitcase modular, amplified copper plates, and a toy acoustic guitar.
 
 
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