Vinyl Reviews

Streifenjunko – Sval Torv

September 30, 2012

2x Vinyl Sofa Music There is something about Sval Torv, an impressively attractive twin vinyl set on the Sofa label by the Norwegian duo Streifenjunko that is really hard to pin down with words, but somehow slips into your consciousness after listening for a while, something subtle and oblique that makes the music here different […]

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CD Reviews

Tuesday 13th April

April 13, 2010

I was somewhat taken by surprise the first time I played Noth of the North, a recent release by Mark Pichelin, Xavier Charles and Ivar Grydeland on the SOFA label.I had not stopped to read the sleeve notes when I put the disc into the player, and was not aware of Pichelin at all before doing this, so given that I knew Charles’ and Grydeland’s music quite well I assumed I would be met with instrumental improvisation of some kind. In fact the first three of the nine tracks here don’t seem to have any recognisable instruments on them and each features field recordings (or phonographies as Pichelin describes them once I had got around to reading the liners). It turns out that the first seven tracks here all involve recordings made by the French field recordist Pichelin during a trip to the far Northern parts of Norway in June 2006. So we hear murmured conversations, vaguely watery sounds, some kind of animal (maybe a pig?) snuffling and grunting and some far less vague, definitely very watery recordings. These three tracks all pass quickly, the longest of them just over three minutes in length and are all quite nice, well recorded and presented by Pichelin, but if there is any sign of Charles (who is credited with clarinet and harmonica on this album) and Grydeland (credited simply with banjo) on these tracks then my ears can’t spot it.

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CD Reviews

Monday 22nd March

March 22, 2010

A busy day today, focussed mainly on Cathnor activities and girlfriend activities, but this afternoon/evening it has been really good to settle down with a book and some music. A few weeks back I took advantage of Sofa Music’s great value 10th Anniversary sale and picked up half a dozen or so titles, some new some old. (Yeah I know, the listening mountain grows fast enough without me adding to it, but old habits die hard) Amongst them was their most recent release, an album reveling in the sumptuous title Nectars of Emergence by MURAL, who are the trio of Jim Denley, (alto sax and flutes) Kim Myhr, (acoustic guitars and preparations) and Ingar Zach (gran cassa and percussion). Denley and Myhr released a rather nice duo disc named Systems Realignment on the Either/Or label last year which I wrote about here. This new CD inhabits similar ground, but perhaps despite the additional musician there is a little more space in the music, which is as nicely recorded as the duo disc is. Maybe because Denley drops the electronics that often formed a bed for the music on Systems Realignment this trio recording feels lighter and more airy, with all of the acoustic sounds clean, crisp and easily identifiable.

The music on Nectars of Emergence feels very clear and precise. The three musicians all contribute in equal parts, and their sounds reflect and respond to each other nicely, but rather than blend together and merge into one whole the music has a feel of real clarity to it, each sound, be it the breathy soft notes from Denley’s reeds, the plucked acoustic notes from Myhr or Zach’s pointillistic gamelanesque percussion. In his review a while back, Brian spoke of how the music had an Eastern feeling to it. Maybe I am just hearing this as a result of catching up on Brian’s words but I hear a similar tone to the music, the percussion and in particular the flute sounds pointing out that way. The guitar normally pulls the music back from that direction, either through the metronomic picked notes repeated here and there to the trembling whirr that characterises Entropy, the last and at nine minutes the longest of the seven pieces here. This final piece is a little heavier, perhaps the only track that feels like something we might have heard before, veering towards more extended, almost droning sounds.

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CD Reviews

An early morning ramble

December 30, 2006

This morning after I had given up waiting for the sun to change the sky over Oxfordshire to any colour other than grey I went for a walk into the muddy, cold gloom of the countryside for a couple of hours. Along with warm coat, silly hat and walking boots I went armed with my […]

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