CD Reviews

Wednesday 13th June

June 13, 2012

Tonight’s CD is another recent release on the Consumer Waste label by the Barcelona based duo Cremaster, who are Alfredo Costa Monteiro and Ferran Fages. This disc, titled Live at Audiograft includes a single twenty-six minute live set recorded at said festival in Oxford just three months ago. I should probably add here that while I helped out with bits and pieces of Audiograft I had no input into this particular concert and have no connection to this release at all. So no caveats this time then besides the fact that its great to have another CD here that was recorded in the city just up the road from here. Just a few years back I would have laughed at the suggestion that Cremaster might have even played a gig in Oxford let alone a CD be released of the show. These things come in waves and in a couple of years Oxford may be a dry well again but for now it continues to thrive, primarily thanks to the Brookes University departments that both attract interesting people and funded and organised Audiograft.

So as my brief report of Alfredo and Ferran’s set back in March suggested, this was a bit of a loud, abrasive affair. Costa Monteiro uses ‘electroacoustic devices’ here which I think mostly involved springs with contact mics attached and other similarly tactile yet amplified small objects. Fages used a feedback mixer as well s similar small items, with, if I remember correctly a walkie talkie put to use at one stage. If on the night the performance felt very loud, it is tempered nicely here by Samuel Rodgers’ recording and mastering, so the vibrancy and energy remains but not ear shatteringly so. On the day the music felt loud and raw but I remarked that although noisy a strong sense of composition remained- the music feeling like it had purpose and shape rather than just being a wanton display of searing adrenalin. That certainly remains my thought on it now. There are slightly better Cremaster discs out there in my opinion, and there are also noisier as well, but this is still a very fine example of how the duo manage to harness raw energy ¬†and shape it around one another to create music that feels at once both lo-fi and highly evolved. These two musicians have played together frequently for a very long time now. They seem to almost think for one another when they improvise, and the music’s feel of structure and togetherness feeds out of this.

I’m not sure what else there is for me to say. Live at Audiograft is crunchy, brittle, bright, wailing, nervous and confident all at once. If you like Cremaster, or if you like your electroacoustic improvisation on the more viscous side then I can recommend this CD to you. It never quite gets out of control, but then never quite feels tame either. The sounds used are wild and often the result of simple physics based processes but they also feel under control, hemmed in, contained, but still fighting and wrestling on the inside. A short disc, but with just enough to get your teeth firmly into. Consumer Waste.

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