CD Reviews

Monday 15th March

March 16, 2010

Considering how long Robin Hayward has been making music he has appeared on surprisingly few CDs, perhaps a dozen or so in maybe as many years, comparitively few when compared to the output of his contemporaries. Maybe this observation merely underlines a disinterest in recorded music or perhaps it shows a degree of restraint from a musician that has always come across to me as highly thoughtful and controlled. I’d like to think its the latter. States of Rushing then arrives as Hayward’s second solo album, some six years after the first one, the excellent Valve Division released on the Fringes label. The first thing to note about Hayward’s music, as has been noted so many times before, is the extraordinary degree of control he has over such a large, seemingly unwieldy instrument. Hayward has spent a considerable amount of time simply exploring the tuba and its capabilities, and it feels now he can do pretty much whatever he wants with it. The question that remains then, is now that all the possibilities have been revealed, which do you choose to make a record?

States of Rushing then lasts nearly fifty minutes and contains seven tracks, that seem to perhaps be divided into two sets, one of four pieces, the second of three. I’m not sure if the music here is completely improvised or composed in some way (Hayward works in both areas) and perhaps it doesn’t matter. The opening piece is named, curiously, Trailer. It captures for me what is often so wonderful in Hayward’s music, a state of real concentration and focus that is quite addictive. the track consists of gentle, slightly abrasive purrs of released air that rise in intensity very slowly and only slightly. Close, attentive listening is crucial here, letting this just breeze along in the background is useless, you might as well listen to the central heating, which may well be a nice experience, but lacks the subtlety and compressed intensity of this music. The second piece, named Release follows in a similar vein, little sections of grey hiss and distant roar, but here additional slivers of sound are added at semi rhythmic intervals, beginning just as little blocks of sound reminiscent of small boats chugging away up a river, some closer, some far away, but then later blooming into fluttering squelches and then fast drill-like pops. The structure of this piece, the way the different sections are arranged is great, and the first thought you have is that it cannot have been played live in one sitting and some degree of overdubbing must have happened, but this was not the case. the liner notes make clear that everything here is played acoustically without any processing or trickery. I return again to previous comments about the sheer control hayward has over this instrument…

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CD Reviews

Wednesday 24th June

June 25, 2009

Another tedious, demoralising day, but I am home now and not at work tomorrow so the really ghastly Spanish wine I have here tonight tastes slightly sweeter for that news. A couple more pointers towards more free downloads first tonight- Paul Abbott, Benedict Drew and Seymour Wright have added some more updates to their ongoing Flat […]

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CD Reviews

Wednesday 8th April

April 8, 2009

Right then so Valved strings calculator.… As I mentioned last night this is a trio release by Robin Hayward, Rhodri Davies and Taku Unami released recently on the Hibari label. This CD seems to me to capture nicely a particular style of playing that seems to have flourished quietly over recent years that I enjoy […]

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