Monday, January 18, 2010
Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides - Memoirs of a Secret Metal Cave (Bug Incision Records CD-R)
How bout that Mr. Doubty-Mustafa? More than two reviews in a week and rolling strong. This one's from a batch I got a ways back off Chris Dadge's Bug Incision imprint, as swell an operation as there is and north of the border at that. Chilliness aside, Dadge has a way of keeping things steaming on all fronts with his stuff. Guess booking the biggest thing in small music makes sense then, as he called upon Pascal Nichols and Kelly Jones for this one. Likely no need for an introduction of these two but for those who haven't heard the stuff, this British duo work a unique flute, drums and electronics setup that presents a real mastery of the kind of insular, homemade logic that I fall for like a fool for a fad.
On to the sounds. When you think PWHMBS, you gotta think flute, and the first track's full of it. This nowhere melody finds space between the lonesome hills, Renaissance fair crowd, Herbie Mann style wankery and pure tonal exploration in a way that somehow squeezes between the cracks and musters some evocative pastoral breaths. Usually can't stand the flute aside from when a scant few are rocking it--say R. Kirk, Dead Machines style Olson, and, uh, I'm sure there are others...--but this is some deep playing that uses the instrument's strongest qualities, namely it's ability to funnel bursts of air into parcels of barely there tone, to get to some real stuff. Second track drops the woodwind in favor of subtle electronic dialysis and highlighted percussive romps. Completely killer percussion here, that's on the beat and off it again as fast as a fare train to the skies.
By the time the second cut feeds into the third, you're knee deep in the duo's language, so the flute feels rightly placed into the smattering percussion world. Hums, bells, glimmers, it's all light stuff here, as soft as paisley, but with an urgency of form and vision that speaks far beyond the strict color palette present. This is, for lack of a better term, serious music; it takes itself seriously, and it expects to be taken seriously. Yet the =strength of the work lies in its very ability to not translate "seriously" as stale or even intellectual. It is only serious in its ability to be as it is, and to persist with refining the creation looming between the ample lines of the disc. Beautiful stuff that would make a whole lot of improv geeks drool if only they didn't have their heads so far up their own arses. Grad it if it's not gone already, it's beautiful stuff.