Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Magnetic North Duo - Static Fields Forever (Tape Drift CD-R)

Alright, on a role here. This one's another one from the last batch of Tape Drift releases and, brief though it may be, its a real burner. Made up of Nils Rostad on guitar and Sindre Bjerga on bass, electronics and tape, the duo weaves a carefully crafted drone sound that moves beyond a mere flushing out of textures and toward a kind of active improvisation, albeit one marked by pointed moves over extended pools of sound.

The disc opens with a murky vocal sounding drone, but soon Rostad's guitar enters, contributing a highly interactive and rich feel. Long tones are quick motives are stretched across the space in a Loren Connors-esque reinterpretation of the blues, albeit even more abstracted and spare. There is a folk-infused feel here that contributes to a real earthiness in the drones and odd spaces unearthed by Bjerga, whose cautious presence is appreciated; it would be far too easy for the droning to exist as continuous backdrop to Rostad's playing, which could be detrimental to the feel of the work as a whole. Instead, Bjerga's entrances are notable and integral to the dialogue itself, adding punctuation and atmosphere that both engage with and serve as opposition to the consistent tonal warmth of Rostad.

By the end, the piece has moved little in the way of general shape, but there is certainly a journey intrinsic to the disc. Moving away from the spare interplay, Rostad's guitar does in fact get tougher and there is an aggression exuded that feels logical after the brooding opening. At only 25-minutes in length the piece, a debut for the duo, serves as a fine appetizer, ending up in a fragile jangling end that answers no questions. Of course this means that there must be more to come, and that can't be anything but a good thing. A group to keep an eye on, I only wish there were more.

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