CD Reviews

Thursday 11th March

March 12, 2010

An easier day today, my penultimate day in my current job role before a holiday and then a change of role that should in theory see these posts get written earlier in the day. We shall see. I have been listening some more to Daniel Meyer Grønvold and HÃ¥vard Volden’s eponymously titled duo album from last year on the Creative Sources album today then. These two young Norwegian musicians both play acoustic tabletop guitar, an unusual pairing. Each embellishes their set up with lo-fi electronics, while Grønvold adds a dictaphone and Volden a Discman. I’m not sure how the dictaphone is used here, but certainly Volden uses his Discman as a source of interference near a pick-up rather than as a method of playing sounds recorded on CDs.

The music on this release has a very slow, delicate feel to it. Quite often things slip into drone territory, but when they do I am reminded of the shifting detailed drones of Keith Rowe and Toshi Nakamura’s collaborations rather than any heavy oppressive dirge. Given the similarity of the two musicians’ chosen instrumentation it isn’t easy to tell who is making which sound here, so it is probably best if I don’t try and instead just describe the music. Everything sounds very considered, with sounds used sparingly, arriving slowly, entering cautiously but then often staying n place for a little while as the music around it changes very gradually. Mostly the sounds belong in the area we might expect, textural rubbing and scraping, eBowed tones, blurry feedback and chiming struck strings, but there are a few sounds here and there that buck the trend, looping synthetic sounding electronic belches or sudden squeaks of who knows what. These little intrusions into the otherwise comfortably balanced music keep things from slipping into uninteresting drone territory, providing just enough angular uncertainty to the music. There are two tracks here, the five minute long Prevent, Suspend opens the disc, and is followed by the twenty-three minute piece Trimerous / Sticks of steel and plastic, the doubled barrelled title of the second piece possibly referring to the two definite parts to the track, which are split at the eighteen and a half minute mark by two minutes of complete silence. The unexpected space in the music is another element that drags the music here away from standard drone fayre

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