Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides - All Cows are Sacred (House of Alchemy CD-R)

Pretty much managed to drain the girlfriend's remote batteries of juice powering up my tape player for reviews so it's back to CDs till I get a moment to run out. Not that that's all bad when you've got offerings such as the following. I've already covered Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides here before with the Bug Incision disc they did recently, and this new one from House of Alchemy is its equal on all fronts. Same sound, same vibe, killer package, the works.

Kelly Jones and Pascal Nichols receive plenty of props from the press for their free gagaku-style explorations, but it's a worthy press for sure; these guys aren't lightweights, they're featherweights, as nimble on their collective toes as their influences were. And further, the group goes a long way in refusing to respond to their counterparts with brash futurisms, instead opting for the inside/out approach of tackling the material from the material's standpoint. None of that "well it's like Feldman but NOISIER" or "it's Rashied Ali only we removed the drums and replaced them with the sound of shrapnel being shot into a tub of churning butter." It's just flute, electronics and drums playing the shit out of flute, electronics and drums. Their own vibe, their own language, and their own sensibilities shaping the music rather than the means doing so. Props.

The first cut is "Baby Armour," which moves from some Rahsaan Roland Kirk-style flute and percussion blather into more streaky and pointed remarks on drone discourse. Shards of electro/flute tone rattle up against the able on/off drum groove, never reaching a point where the two sound like they're staring across the room and asking themselves where to go from here. Just cruising it up, back down, around the corner, total jammer style. Could almost be some lost Theater of Eternal Music track by ship's landing. Follow up track, "Milky Days," starts right up in the chasm left off in the other, with smeared weird traipsing about behind lone flute divergences. Like Popol Vuh really. And usually this kind of psych + flute equation = nothing for me but the playing here is patient and airy and controlled, with little of the lift off swirling that caused the downfall of so many hip free flutists of generations past. Focused stuff, totally honed-in spontaneity that's constantly busting at the seams like a hats off bear brigade. And when they let rip they let rip, snakes orgies abounding. Sold out at source but soon to be available elsewhere I would assume. Nice heavy wood paste on job too, felt and all. The works.

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