Download Reviews

Thursday 12th August

August 12, 2010

loris1So the Loris recording then, which, as mentioned yesterday can be found as a free download Mp3 file at the Compost and Height site. I think the file is a high resolution Mp3 as it sounds a pretty good recording to me without the usual signs of heavy compression, but then I haven’t heard a lossless version so its hard to tell if anything is missing. Knowing the musicians in the group however, and knowing the care and attention they pay to such matters I doubt I could ever tell the difference. Anyway this live recording, made in Hamburg earlier this year weighs in at ninety seconds short of half an hour, complete with applause at the end, and some audience shuffling at the start, the distant sound of someone with a very loudmouth outside in the street and serial audience coughing throughout. Although a very clear recording, it could be the presence of these external sounds and passing traffic that lead the trio (Patrick Farmer, Sarah Hughes and Daniel Jones) to issue this music as a download rather than pursue a CD release, but I personally enjoy these sounds in live recordings as they provide a sense of place, some kind of idea of the tension in the room rather than just a clinical presentation of the music.

The music itself is great. The Loris album The Cat from Cat Hill, that was released late last year on Another Timbre is a favourite of mine, a CD that balances luxurious beauty with carefully balanced restraint very nicely indeed. Having subsequently seen the group play live a couple of times since they have built on this approach, creating very slow, simply formed music that layers textures and soft tones over each other, allowing sounds to stretch out gradually and gently. In many ways the music here follows this same pattern, but there is one additional new feature here. Throughout the recording sounds (coming from all three musicians) arrive, rise to the top of the music, dominating proceedings for a few moments but then disappearing, stopping when we don’t expect them to, exiting the music before they seem to have fully blended into the weave. Around the nineteen minute mark a series of dirty crunching noises (from Jones I suspect) rupture the delicate structure of the music, pushing things out of the comfort zone, leaving a single sinetone (from Hughes?) hanging precariously on its own.

These moments keep reoccurring that don’t seem to fit the original plan for the music. If not the ugliness of these loud interruptions then we get sudden tones, passages of dense materials or the like that sit on top of everything for ten seconds or so before cutting away in a manner that seems to defy the natural order of the music. Don’t get me wrong, everything remains very fragile, delicate, carefully placed, but this new element of surprise, of uncertainty in the music adds something extra. Still everything here is just gorgeous. As well as recommending that you burn the music to a CD and play it through a warm amp and decent speakers there is also much to be gained from headphone listening. Hearing the music through a good set of cans seems to aid the separation of the sounds, stopping the music from feeling like one mass, allowing the listener to hear the interactions between the trio better, and separate the room sounds easily, so giving a better sense of the live occasion.

Anyway its free, and available here, so you don’t have to listen to my endless drivel and try the music for yourself. Interested to hear what others think of it, but for me its a very mature, thoughtful piece of music performed by three musicians that work together exceptionally well.

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