Saturday, March 21, 2009

Super Minerals - Clusters (Stunned Records CS)

Well, they've arrived. After a few years knee deep in the murky murk, Super Minerals return to Stunned headquarters for a new look and damn new attitude. Doning minimalist accoutrement all over, the Phil French/William Giacchi duo reconvene with bells in hand and piano underfoot for a total trip into the mouth of Terry Riley. Just think... if Terry Riley unlearned half of what he "technically" knew, this could come out. What a world...

The whole tape consists of two side long pieces. The first,"Oxygen Bombs," is as near as I can tell all piano arpeggiation for the first 20 or so minutes. The whole thing lilts beautifully in a yellow haze of sun-drenched clairvoyance. I'm not sure who's playing here but it's wonderful. Fragments of minute and lush melodies present themselves before dissolving once more into the overtone swell of the work. You know that point in La Monte Young's "Well-Tuned Piano" (say, I don't know, 15 minutes into the six hour show...) where he's playing the "cloud" parts and all of his piano tunings are meshing into thick swabs of hum that he controls by moving faster and faster? Well that's about right, just spacious, arms wide tonal bliss. Soon enough though, the whole thing fades out and is replaced by tape loops that seep across some skeleton gamelan moves. Total bleak situation in some Cambodian forest, Skaters-style even but with way less momentum. Just sit back and sip the spiked cocoa water. Beautiful, and it gives an unnerving and curious quality to the tape flip which the other piece alone might have obstructed had it been so vast and unending.

"Clusters" makes up side two and is as filled out and spacious as the first side. Piano trickles out of some small forest spring while tape loops and bells tingle outward, careening in and around each falling note. The duo's really on point with this one, and builds up to hold it, restful, exactly where it's gotta be... upwards but not all there. The tension is ridiculous before it slips away into another haze of piano drift. Absolutely gorgeous, they really took it up and out on this one. Absurd that this is the same group that put out The Piss, but their ability to do each with such confident poise blows me away. One of the best of the year so far for sure and still available from Phil, though who knows for how long.

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