Julie and I went to the seaside today, pretty much on a whim, as we had the day to ourselves at relatively short notice. We had a good time, as we inevitably do. The British seaside town, in the cold of January, mostly closed down, is a wonderful place. We had a great, if a bit silly day. Sometimes acting like big kids is what you need when you’ve had a tough few weeks, and we acted like overgrown children more than once today. Good times were had, and we got home in time for me to spend some solid listening time with a CDr on the Copy for your Records label.
The disc is another in the label’s handmade, apparently very limited edition series of live recordings. This one, titled Homophest 20110921 contains a duo recording of CFYR’s Richard Kamerman (mechanical parts and found objects) and the Spanish musician Miguel Garcia (electronics). As the title suggests, the Cdr contains a live recording of their set from the Homophoni website’s Homophest showcase that took place in New York last September. The recording here is nicely done, perhaps with just a single mic in the room, that picks up bits and pieces of other external sounds, but crucially gives quite a good feeling of how it may have felt to have been in the room at the time. The piece opens with large expanses of silence, punctuated by distant outside voices, maybe some footsteps and eventually the rattle and clatter of Kamerman’s motorised bits and pieces. For quite a while we hear very little, and a very tense silence holds sway over the room. The small additions from Kamerman, and then soon after, using raw, sometimes undulating electronic tones, the contributions from Garcia very gradually begin to expand, flicking on and off between periods of activity and silence. Garcia’s polluted white noise, resembling a jet engine in need of a good retuning builds to a state that it obliterates everything else, only to suddenly cut off at around the sixteen minute mark, just for a few seconds, into which someone (Garcia? an audience member?) inserts a single vocal whoop of the kind that usually (quite annoyingly) follows the louder sections of the harsh noise performances I have witnessed in the past. I could easily do without the whoop here really, as the drop into silence seems far more interesting than someone’s response to the rush of noise, but as this is a live recording this inclusion adds something very simple and present to the music, reminding us very clearly that this is a capture of a live event, and there are people involved- sounds do not move themselves around into nice structures on their own.
Garcia’s roar returns after a few seconds and stays about again for another minute or so before again cutting dead, this time leaving the awkward percussive rattling of Kamerman’s toys to occupy the space alone. This peel back and reveal technique, as old hat as it may be works very well for me, and signals in a long period of once again very quiet music as Garcia remains silent, and Kamerman lets just the slightest of mechanical clinks and taps to appear for quite some time. Things slowly develop again, though never to the same extremes of density until the dying minute of the set, when after a very nice period of interplay the heavy roar closes out the performance for twenty seconds or so. Then we are treated to another couple of yelps, exclamations and odd laughter from a somewhat annoying deep American accented voice (sorry if its someone I know) and about half a dozen people clap. Presumably the audience numbers weren’t that high, but that’s a shame as the performance was probably very good to witness in the room. On CD there is a sense of heavy intensity and atmosphere present, inevitably a reflection of what was felt in the concert space. Its an engaging listen, managing, both through the character of the recording and through the additional vocal contributions to transport the listener to what we might consider the room in which the gig was played to be like, so putting a visual picture of the muss canto my head as well as an aural one, which is quite an unusual thing for music to do for me, assuming I wasn’t there for the recording of course. A nice piece of work then, somewhat uncategoriseable and, in its own way, thoroughly charming.